All living things need some stress hormone to help them cope with the rigors of life. The stress hormones help the body deal with the stress by allowing it to adapt. When one is under stress, their bodies release the stress hormones, severely affecting the body. So, what are the main stress hormones?
The 3 Stress Hormones
When humans are exposed to stress, certain hormone levels such as cortisol, catecholamines, and thyroid hormone change in the blood as part of an adaptive response, for an individual to respond successfully to a stressful situation, the patient may require these changes.
This is actually one of the stress hormones that is often considered the best way to handle stress. It increases your heart rate, blood flow, and energy levels, as Dr. Norton explains:
According to The American College of Rheumatology, this chemical controls anxiety and metabolism, and it has been linked to long-term stress and health problems. When exposed to long-term stress, cortisol affects the digestive and immune systems, making it a weak defense mechanism. High levels of cortisol have been found in those who suffer from chronic inflammation.
This hormone is related to the fight-or-flight response that helps our bodies react to threats by secreting more adrenaline and other hormones. However, prolonged exposure to chronic stress can produce Leptin that can cause weight gain and related health problems. This is because Leptin directly impacts insulin levels and caloric control.
How Do Stress Hormones Affect the Body
There are stress hormones that cause your blood vessels to constrict, allowing more oxygen to flow to your muscles so that you can react more quickly. However, this also causes your blood pressure to rise. Whether frequent or chronic, stress will cause the heart to work too hard for an extended period of time.
Experiencing excessive stress for a long period of time can have the opposite effect, and we may begin to notice its physical effects. The effects of stress on the body may cause the body to shut down. Our health may become compromised if we are ill, fatigued, or go through stressful situations.
Monkey see monkey do. All living things, both animals and humans, use the fight-or-flight response to survive. When confronted with stressful situations, the body uses the fight-or-flight response to make blood rush to the survival organs such as the heart and the brain. However, prolonged exposure to stress hormones can produce the wrong effect in that the body instead pumps more adrenaline into the bloodstream. It increases the possibility of panic attacks or even depression. It has also been found that although the body produces hormones to help fight or flight, there is a limit to how much adrenaline in the body can secret. Therefore, prolonged stress hormones are particularly dangerous. Some experts argue that although stressful situations can increase the likelihood of heart attack, stroke, and other heart problems, they are not the root cause of these conditions.
The hypothalamus is a critical part of the brain. It controls many important functions in the body, such as blood pressure, heartbeat, and temperature. In fact, the hypothalamus and pituitary gland produce the primary hormones of the body, namely cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. When the hypothalamus receives positive reinforcement, it signals the brain to secrete higher amounts of Leptin and send a message to the adrenal glands to produce more adrenaline. Excessive stimulation by stress hormones over a prolonged period can result in memory loss, increased blood pressure, muscle weakness, and other ailments.