Where It Comes From
Here’s what stress isn’t. It’s not a pile of work, a flat tire, a sick child, or any other situation that may distract us. Those are stressors. Stress is the way we perceive a situation and react to it.
A 2006 study published in the American Journal of Public Health revealed that women have a higher risk of experiencing stress-related health problems. Black American women, in particular, are more vulnerable to the effects of race-related stress versus their white or male peers. These findings have been consistent, based on concepts proving that gender and racial prejudice are among the leading chronic stressors.
Black women living in urban areas reported a higher number of traumatic life events as stressors (crime, divorce, job loss, etc.). It should come as no surprise that socioeconomic conditions are contributors to the differences in one’s health status.
Breaking It Down
Stress affects every woman differently; one woman’s migraine may be another woman’s sprint to the vending machine. Our hormones play a huge role in regulating sexual function and development, metabolism, and the body’s growth. With all the hormones involved in stress, continued exposure can lead to serious health complications. Here are the areas in which stress can have a negative impact on your health.
Heart – Chronic stress exposes the body to raised levels of cortisol, norepinephrine, and adrenaline. One study conducted by African
Health Sciences concluded that high levels of cortisol and adrenaline increases blood cholesterol, triglycerides, and high blood pressure. If left untreated over time, these disorders can damage your arteries – increasing your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
Muscular system – If we’re going to fight or flee, we need ready muscles! Muscle tension is merely a reflex reaction to stress. This is why our necks and backs tense up when we are hit with stressors. If those muscles don’t eventually loosen, we are left with sore backs, shoulders, and necks accompanied by a headache that pounds hard enough to wake the neighbors.