Yes, stress is a silent killer if not even worse. A silent killer is something capable of causing death without first producing noticeable or recognizable symptoms. It can come in form of a disease or disorder, or a biological chemical or physical agent. Not only can stress be considered a silent killer, but it can also be considered a strategic killer. What many people do not know about stress is that it has a great negative impact on your health.
Stress means different things to different people. The causes of stress differ depending on individuals, and stress holds also differ. Not all stress can be categorized as bad, because little stress can help you accomplish tasks and prevent you from getting hurt.
Stress can increase cortisol levels in the blood (which is the main stress hormone), and this, in turn, interferes with our memory, and our learning techniques, lowers our body’s immune function, causes depressed bone density, increased our blood pressure, high cholesterol level, and possible heart disease. That means it can lead to premature death from many of these related health issues.
Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to life experiences which is the body’s reaction to either real or perceived harmful situations. Any threatened situation triggers a chemical reaction to be released in your body that involuntarily prepares you to act in a way to prevent injury. This involuntary reaction is known as “fight-or-flight,” or the stress response.
When this occurs, naturally your heart rate increases and blood pressure rises. Your muscle tightens because of reduced blood flow to the muscle’s capillaries, and your breathing quicken. At this time you’ve gotten ready to act and this is how you protect yourself. But if your stress response doesn’t stop firing, and these stress levels stay elevated for longer than is necessary for survival, it can take a toll on your health.
Why Is Stress a Silent Killer?
Nature has designed the human body to experience stress, and this can affect every aspect of your life, including your emotions, behaviors, thinking ability, and physical health. No part of the body is immune. But, because people handle stress differently, symptoms of stress can vary depending on the individual. Therefore stress can be a silent killer depending on how it’s being handled. Some people commit suicide out of frustration while the underlining factor originates from stress.
What harms the systems of the body is indirectly killing the body system if not arrested in time. With long-term stress, most of the body system will not be able to function to capacity, while some parts of the body system will lead to total collapse. These are the reasons why some people refer to stress as a silent killer.
Does Stress Affect The Central Nervous & Endocrine System As A Silent Killer?
Yes, stress affects the central nervous & endocrine systems as a silent killer. It is the central nervous system (CNS) that controls your “fight or flight” response. The hypothalamus located in the brain triggers the action by activating the adrenal glands to release the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. When these hormones are released, they rev up your heartbeat and send blood rushing to the areas that of need such as your muscles, heart, and other important organs of the body.
The moment the perceived fear is gotten rid of, the hypothalamus in turn informs all the systems to go back to normal. But if the stressor doesn’t go away, the response will continue and the Central Nervous System will not return to normal. The inability of the CNS not returning to normal because of the stressor not giving way eventually leads to overstimulation of the adrenal glands to produce more adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones increase in the body and the high level of these hormones affects the overall performance of the body organs thus making stress a silent killer.
Does Stress Affect The Respiratory & Cardiovascular System As A Silent Killer?
Yes, stress affects the respiratory & cardiovascular systems as a silent killer. During the stress response, your heart pumps blood faster and you breathe faster to quickly distribute oxygen-rich blood to your body. After the release of the Stress hormones (Adrenaline and Cortisol) to the body, it causes your blood vessels to constrict and divert more oxygen to your muscles so you’ll have more strength to take action.
The activities of the stress hormones on the heart and blood vessels can lead to high blood pressure or any heart-related health challenges like stroke or heart attack, and this makes stress a silent killer.
Does Stress Affect The Digestive System As A Silent Killer?
Yes, Stress affects the digestive system as a silent killer. It is when you’re under stress that your liver produces extra blood sugar (glucose) to give you the boost of energy you need for the stress response. But people under chronic stress, might not be able to keep up with this extra glucose surge which can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The increased level of stress hormones in the body coupled with rapid breathing, and increased heart rate can also upset your digestive system. The possibility of having heartburn or acid reflux can’t be ruled out. Stress indirectly affects the digestive movement of food through your body which can lead to diarrhea or constipation. It is also possible to experience nausea, vomiting, or a stomachache.
Does Stress Affect The Muscular System As a Silent Killer?
Yes, Stress affects the muscular system as a silent killer. During stress, your muscles tense up to protect themselves from injury. There is a reversed reaction when you’re relaxed. Tight muscles have the potential to cause headaches, back and shoulder pain, and body aches. But when these actions persist for a long time, the proper functioning of the muscle cells will be impaired, and it takes medications for the muscles cell to start functioning at their full capacity again.
Does Stress Affect The Sexuality & Reproductive System As A Silent Killer?
Yes, Stress affects the sexual & reproductive system as a silent killer. Stress takes energy from you and it exhausts both the body and mind. Although short-term stress tends to activate the production of the male hormone testosterone, this effect doesn’t last. It’s also normal to lose the desire for sex when someone is under stress. In the same vein, some people use sex to reduce stress.
A man’s testosterone levels drop if the stress is prolonged for a long time and this can affect sperm production and also cause erectile dysfunction or impotence. Medical research has linked chronic stress with a high risk of prostate and testis health challenges.
In the case of women, stress can affect the menstrual cycle in a way that can lead to irregular, heavier, or more painful periods. Physical symptoms of menopause can also be magnified in people that have chronic stress.
Does Stress Affect The Immune System As A Silent Killer?
Yes, Stress affects the immune system as a silent killer. Our body’s immune system is a natural means by which we stay healthy and fight infections. Stress stimulates the immune system to action which can act as a defense mechanism against any form of health challenge depending on the person involved.
High levels of stress hormones in the body weaken the immune system and weaken the body’s natural defensive response to foreign invaders. Stress can also prolong one’s recovery time from an illness or injury.