Stress Affects the Entire Body
Stress is something that everyone experiences, but not everyone experiences the same kind of stress or reacts to it the same way. The human body is naturally designed to react to stress in a certain way. Consider these reactions warning signs. If you can learn to recognize the signs, you can nip those situations in the bud, engage in stress-relieving activities and reduce the effects of long-term stress on your body.
Stress affects every organ and system of the body. Most people are aware how stress affects the heart because it is the first thing we feel when faced with a stressful situation - often described as the hammering against the inside of your rib cage.
Stress is also associated with an increase in blood pressure, which can damage blood vessels and the heart over a long period of time.
Less acknowledged is the effect of stress on the lungs, and the role of lungs in increasing blood pressure and powering the body to deal with the stress.
How the Lungs React
There are two types of stress: acute and chronic.
Acute stress is the body's reaction to a sudden, immediate, life-threatening event. This is the kind of situation that brings out the body's "fight or flight" response. Basically, the body prepares itself for an emergency.
The lungs take in more oxygen and send it to the rest of the body through the increased heart rate. It is estimated that a person's blood flow increases by 300 to 400 percent in these types of situations. Along with oxygen, more red and white blood cells are carried throughout the body (carrying the increased amounts of oxygen).
The brain naturally suppresses short-term memory, concentration, sensitivity, and the ability to think logically so a person can respond quickly to the impending crisis. The brain also releases a protein (Neuropeptide S), which interferes with sleep and actually works to keep a person alert. These situations are stored in the long-term memory for future reference.
Properly functioning lungs mean that the body's systems will have the necessary resources and energy to respond to stressful situations.