The Long Term Effects of Stress
The long term effects of stress on the human body are generally
negative. Stress can be a positive, as it enables us to respond to
danger quickly, but continued stress places stress on the body causing
diseases such as cardio-vascular problems, ulcers, problems with
digestion and illness.
The most common problem caused by stress is heart disease, more
specifically cardiovascular problems. One very common effect when you
develop cardiovascular problems is high blood pressure. You can also
develop coronary heart disease which involves a narrowing of the
hearts arteries. There have been very few studies into this area of
stress as the effects can be life threatening. However Friedman and
Rosenman conducted a study into CHD's. The study showed that people
who did not cope well with stress were more likely to conduct a CHD
(coronary heart disease). Ganster et al (1991) added to the study,
concluding that 'chronic elevations in the sympathetic nervous system
lead to deterioration of the cardio vascular system'.
Another effect of continued stress on the human body is problems with
digestion and ultimately ulcers. The human body develops problems with
digestion because when under stress we use energy, lowering out blood
sugar level. Therefore the stomach tells your body that you need more
sugar. When placed under stress however, your appetite disappears. So
the stomach creates more hydrochloric acid, which is not being used
up. This acid wears down the walls in your stomach, causing ulcers.
This is all controlled by the SAM.
There has only been one major study into ulcers, by Brady (1958). He
performed an experiment on two monkeys. Many people believed for a
long time that this was this study was definitive proof that stress
caused ulcers. It was backed up by Weiner et al in 1957. He used army
recruits under stressful training conditions. At the end...