With the hustle and bustle of a normal Ugandan life, several people have to deal with frustrations that culminate into stress. Prolonged periods of stress – due to money and work, for example – can inhibit the immune system and even lead to weaker bones. But there is even a harder truth to take.
Most scientists agree that a bit of stress is good for you, stimulating your body to produce an important hormone called cortisol.
But too much is bad for your health and now an expert has revealed exactly why in a video.
In a compelling video, Dr Raychelle Burks from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln explains the science of a goat for the American Chemical Society.
As she explains, when you encounter a stressful situation ‘your body will start releasing [the hormones] adrenaline and norepinephrine within seconds to prepare you to fight – or more likely, take flight.’
After a minute or two your body is flooded with cortisol, which is vital in keeping you healthy in tense situations.
Cortisol puts more glucose into your bloodstream so that when the adrenaline is gone you don’t crash.
‘It also kicks your liver into gear, pumping out the extra glucose that’s now sloshing around inside of you,’ Dr Burks explained.
But if you stay stressed for too long, it can have negative effects.
‘Cortisol inhibits some of your immune responses, meaning you’re more likely to get sick and it takes longer for wounds to heal,’ Dr Burks continued.
‘Cortisol also slows bone growth, meaning sustained levels can lead to weaker, more fragile bones.
‘And because cortisol acts on a part of your brain that controls appetite, it also increases your desire for fatty and sugary foods.’
One positive side effect of too much cortisol, though, is that cortisol is good at reducing swelling or itching in its medical form – known as hydrocortisone.
However, remaining stressed for too long is still not advisable – and Dr Burks recommends eating healthy food, exercising and getting plenty of sleep to beat stress.