Physical Effects of Stress
of stress occurs mainly
through the neuro-endocrino-immunological pathways.
Whatever be the nature of the stressor, the
basic responses of the body to these are similar.
Following are some of the physical effects of stress on our body
Palpitation : increased heart beat
Increased, shallow breathing
Cold, clammy extremities
Tightening of muscles, showing tightening of
abdominal muscles, tense arms and legs, clenched jaw causing gritting of
Increased frequency of urine
Loss of appetite
How stress affects so many
organs in the body and causes these physical stress effects can be
understood from the following diagram of the major physical effects of
stress on the body:
stress starts when a stressor sends signals from the higher centres of
brain to the hypothalamus which secretes hormones which in turn
stimulates pituitary gland, the maestro of the endocrinal orchestra,
which sends signals to all other endocrinal glands like adrenal
medulla, adrenal cortex, thyroid, etc.
effect mediated through the autonomic system and adrenal medulla is
to release adrenaline, which is the fight or flight hormone. The body
is readied to meet the immediate threat by activating the essential
fighting organs like heart, respiratory system and muscles.