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Stress and Heart Disease

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939 words
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Heart Disease and Stress Miller and Blackwell state, “Though people have long believed that certain thoughts and feelings are toxic for their health, only in the past 30 years has convincing evidence accumulated to support this view… specific cognitive and emotional processes do contribute to the development and progression of medical illness,” (Miller & Blackwell, 2006, p. 269). Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Through many experiments, research has shown that stress increases the health concerns directly related to heart disease. Stress is a part of everyday life, yet individuals perceive and process stress differently. Stress Stress is defined as, “the process by which we perceive and respond to certain events, called stressors, that we appraise as threatening or challenging,” (Myers, 2013, p. 487). When stressors arise in people’s lives, the response can be positive and pose a challenge and make people more focused. If the stressor is thought to be a threat or negative, the person could become more distracted and stressed. From hurricanes and earthquakes, to driving down the street and being cut off, stressors can be presented in many different ways and fall into one of three categories. The three main categories are, catastrophes, significant life changes and daily hassles, but all play a vital role (Myers, 2013). Inflammation When the body processes stress, it is both a physiological and psychological process. Outside sources activate the immune response of inflammation, which if persistent, studies have shown develops symptoms of depression and progression into cardiac disease. Walter Cannon (1929) observed stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine from the adrenal glands b... ... middle of paper ... ...covered about personality traits along with Type A and Type B reactions to stress, the scientific community can move closer to lowering the chronic heart disease in patients that are effected by stressors. References Alfred B. Heilburn, J., & Friedberg, E. B. (1988). Type A Personality, Self-Control, and Vulnerability to Stress. Journal of Personality Assessment, 420-424. Miller, G. E., & Blackwell, E. (2006). Turning Up the Heat. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 269-272. Myers, D. G. (2013). Psychology, Tenth Edition. New York: Worth. Neelakantan, S. (2013). Mind over myocardium. Nature, S16-S17. Segerstrom, S. C., & Miller, G. E. (2004, July). Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Inquiry. Retrieved from National Center for Biotechnology Infrmation: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1361287/

In this essay, the author

  • States that miller and blackwell state that specific cognitive and emotional processes contribute to the development and progression of medical illness. stress increases the health concerns directly related to heart disease.
  • Defines stress as the process by which we perceive and respond to certain events, called stressors, that we appraise as threatening or challenging.
  • Explains that stress is a physiological and psychological process. outside sources activate the immune response of inflammation, which if persistent, develops symptoms of depression and cardiac disease.
  • Explains that stress response closely relates to the immune function, and states that energy conservation helps link stress and inflammation by mimicking the effects the body would have while fighting an infection.
  • Explains that researchers were unsure of the results of personality studies because of different measurement procedures. meyer friedman and ray rosenman conducted a nine-year study of more than 3,000 healthy men.
  • States that research suggests that heart disease and depression may both result when chronic stress triggers persistent inflammation.
  • Cites segerstrom, s. c., and miller, g. e. (2004). psychological stress and the human immune system: a meta-analytic study of 30 years of inquiry.
  • Explains that alfred b. heilburn, j., and friedberg, e.b. (1988). type a personality, self-control and vulnerability to stress.
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