How does stress affect our health ?
Stress affects our body and mind badly. Due to stress , there is stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system .
Why does this happen ?
In response to stress , the body wants to fight the stimulus causing stress. Hence the body prepares itself. When the sympathetic nervous system gets stimulated , the person is in alert position. The blood supply diverts to muscles so that the person can run away from the stimulus or fight it out. It is a fight or flight response which means that either you fight the stress stimulus or you run away from the stress stimulus. The blood vessels become narrow and blood pressure increases. Heart starts beating faster and the workload on heart increases The changes that happen in the body to fight stress later on cause harm to the body when the stress persists for a long time. There is increase in acid levels that causes acidity. Tension in muscles due to chronic stress causes tension headache. Chronic stress also decreases immunity. Chronic stress also has an effect on reproductive system and sexual harmony. It decreases the desire of sex. It can also make the menses irregular and cause pain during menses.
General Stress Syndrome affects the whole body. There are three stages of the General Stress Syndrome. 1. Alarm stage, 2. Resistance stage 3. Exhaustion stage
The first stage, is termedas the alarm stage. : In this stage , the body is preparing for the “fight or flight” response .This involves a number of hormones and chemicals excreted at brain level , as well as an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, sweating. The second phase, the stage of resistance — the body gets adapted to stress and begins to resist it. Then the personenters into the third and final stage — the exhaustion stage. In this stage , the body gives up and gets exhausted. Stress plays an aggravating role in many diseases like Diabetes , Hypertension ( Increased blood pressure ) , various skin diseases etc.
Effect of Chronic Stress on Performance :
There are various stages through which one passes because of stress. Little stress is actually beneficial as it increases performance Eustress : This is stage during which the performance increases due to little stress. Distress:More Increase in stress then leads to a decrease in performance which causes distress.
How do we know that we are stressed up ?
American Stress Association has given the following 50 common signs and symptoms of stress. Frequent headaches, jaw clenching or pain, Gritting, grinding teeth, Stuttering or stammering, Tremors, trembling of lips, hands, Neckache, back pain, muscle spasms, Light headedness, faintness, dizziness, Ringing, buzzing or popping sounds, Frequent blushing, sweating, Constipation, diarrhea, loss of control, Difficulty breathing, frequent sighing, Sudden attacks of life threatening panic, Chest pain, palpitations, rapid pulse, Frequent urination, Diminished sexual desire or performance ,Excess anxiety, worry, guilt, nervousness ,Increased anger, frustration, hostility, Depression, frequent or wild mood swings, Increased or decreased appetite…. etc
How does Lubhda help to reduce stress ?
Lubdha contains 4 women health protectives which have adaptogenic property and help to reduce stress. Adaptogens cause adaptive reactions to disease, are useful in many unrelated illnesses, and appear to produce a state of nonspecific increased resistance ( SNIR) to adverse effects of physical, chemical, and biological agents. Each one of Lubdha ingredients ( Asparagus Racemosus , Withania Somnifera , Ocium Sanctum and Tinospora Cordifolia ) help the body to reduce stress due to adaptogenic property.
Anti-Stress Effect: A State of Nonspecific Increased Resistance ( SNIR) xw Research conducted at the Department of Pharmacology, University of Texas health science centre indicated that Withania Somnifera produced GABA like activity which may account for it`s anti-stress effects.
GABA produces calming effect. Excessive neuronal activity can lead to restlessness &inability to sleep, but GABA inhibits the number of nerves cells that fire in brain & helps to induce sleep, uplift mood & reduce anxiety.
A Placebo- Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of Withania Somniferain Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults was conducted by K. Chandrasekhar, Jyoti Kapoor, Sridhar Anishetty
The study examined how KSM-66 ( This is a brand containing Withania Somnifera ) functions as an adaptogen assisting the body in producing a normalizing effect for reducing stress and anxiety.
Perceived Stress Scale : The PSS is perhaps the most commonly used psychological scale for assessing self-perception on the level of stress in one’s life. The scale consists of ten items. For each of 10 items, the score ranges from 0 to 4, with a score of zero connoting the absence or non-incidence of the corresponding stress-signaling event. The PSS score is obtained by summing the score across all ten items.
General Health Questionnaire-28 The GHQ-28 questionnaire (Goldberg and Hillier 1979) has four distinct item-subsets corresponding to stress categorized as 1.Somatic ( Related to body ) 2. Anxiety and insomnia ( Insomnia is Inability to sleep ) 3. Social dysfunction ( Social behavior ) 4. Severe depression
Depression Anxiety Stress Scale : The DASS questionnaire (Lovibond and Lovibond 1995) has three distinct item-subsets corresponding to stress categorized as 1.Depression 2. Anxiety 3. Stress Like with the GHQ-28 scale, the score on each scale item measures the frequency or extent to which a certain stress-signaling event occurs.
The DASS , 21 is a 21 item self report questionnaire designed to measure the severity of a range of symptoms common to both Depression and Anxiety. In completing the DASS, the individual is required to indicate the presence of a symptom over the previous week. Each item is scored from 0 (did not apply to me at all over the last week) to 3 (applied to me very much or most of the time over the past week). The essential function of the DASS is to assess the severity of the core symptoms of Depression, Anxiety and Stress. Accordingly, the DASS allows not only a way to measure the severity of a patient’s symptoms but a means by which a patient’s response to treatment can also be measured.
Scoring the DASS :The scale to which each item belongs is indicated by the letters D (Depression), A (Anxiety) and S(Stress). For each scale (D, A & S) sum the scores for identified items. Because the DASS 21 is a shortform version of the DASS (the Long Form has 42 items), the final score of each item groups.(Depression, Anxiety and Stress) needs to be multiplied by two (x2).
Interpreting the DASS :Once multiplied by 2, each score can now be transferred to the DASS profile sheet, enabling comparisons to be made between the three scales and also giving percentile rankings and severity labels For each item subset, the score ranges from 0 to 42, with a score of zero connoting the absence or non-incidence of the corresponding category of stress-signaling events.The total score, which is a measure of overall stress, aggregated over all three item-subsets was also measured.
Serum Cortisol Levels : Serum cortisol is a frequently used biological marker of stress. After 60 days of treatment, a reduction of 27.9% from baseline was observed in the Withania Somnifera group. In contrast, a reduction of 7.9% was observed in the placebo-control group.This study concludes ,The findings of this study suggest that Withania Somnifera safely and effectively improves an individual’s resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life.