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Stress & the respiratory

system
Stress Management Assignment
NEERAJ H MENON
DM16128
SECTION 1
PGDM 14-16

STRESS AND THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM


Anything that poses a challenge or a threat to our well-being is a stress.
Some stresses get you going and they are good for you - without any stress
at all many say our lives would be boring and would probably feel pointless.
However, when the stresses undermine both our mental and physical health
they are bad.
Physiological or biological stress is an organism's response to a stressor such
as an environmental condition or a stimulus. Stress is a body's method of
reacting to a challenge. According to the stressful event, the body's way to
respond to stress is by sympathetic nervous system activation which results
in the fight-or-flight response. The body cannot keep this state for long
periods of time; afterwards the parasympathetic system returns the body's
physiological conditions to normal. In humans, stress typically describes a
negative condition or a positive condition that can have an impact on a
person's mental and physical well-being.
The human respiratory system is a series of organs responsible for taking in
oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide.
Parts of the respiratory system
Lungs
The lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. In the lungs oxygen
is taken into the body and carbon dioxide is breathed out. The red blood cells
are responsible for picking up the oxygen in the lungs and carrying the
oxygen to all the body cells that need it. The red blood cells drop off the
oxygen to the body cells, then pick up the carbon dioxide which is a waste
gas product produced by our cells. The red blood cells transport the carbon
dioxide back to the lungs and we breathe it out when we exhale.
Trachea
The trachea is sometimes called the windpipe. The trachea filters the air we
breathe and branches into the bronchi.
Bronchi
The bronchi are two air tubes that branch off of the trachea and carry air
directly into the lungs.
Diaphragm

Breathing starts with a dome-shaped muscle at the bottom of the lungs


called the diaphragm. The diaphragm contracts when we breathe in. When it
contracts it flattens out and pulls downward. This movement enlarges the
space that the lungs are in. This larger space pulls air into the lungs. When
you breathe out, the diaphragm expands reducing the amount of space for
the lungs and forcing air out. The diaphragm is the main muscle used in
breathing.
Effect of stress on Respiratory system
Stress not only takes a toll on the emotional wellbeing of a person, but can
be a reason to trigger respiratory problems which can be very harmful.
Stress can make you breathe harder. That's not a problem for most people,
but for those with asthma or a lung disease such as emphysema, getting the
oxygen you need to breathe easier can be difficult. And some studies show
that an acute stress such as the death of a loved one can actually
trigger asthma attacks, in which the airway between the nose and the lungs
constricts. In addition, stress can cause the rapid breathing or
hyperventilation that can bring on a panic attack in someone prone to
panic attacks.
ASTHMA
Asthma is one of the results of prolonged stress, and its a tough one to deal
with. Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the
airways. Asthma causes recurring episodes of wheezing (a whistling sound
when you breathe), chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing.
Nearly 25 million Americans suffer from asthma (over 8% of adults, over 9%
of children), and 60% of asthma cases are allergic-asthma. The prevalence
of asthma has been increasing since the early 1980s across all age, sex and
racial groups. Ethnic differences in asthma prevalence, morbidity and
mortality are highly correlated with poverty, urban air quality, indoor
allergens, and lack of patient education and inadequate medical care. For
adults, asthma is the fourth leading cause of work absenteeism resulting in
nearly 15 million missed or lost workdays each year, resulting in a total cost
of nearly $3 billion in total lost productivity.
The airways are tubes that carry air into and out of your lungs. People who
have asthma have inflamed airways. The inflammation makes the airways
swollen and very sensitive. The airways tend to react strongly to certain
inhaled substances. When the airways react, the muscles around them

tighten. This narrows the airways, causing less air to flow into the lungs. The
swelling also can worsen, making the airways even narrower. Cells in the
airways might make more mucus than usual. Mucus is a sticky, thick liquid
that can further narrow the airways.
Stress & Asthma
Stress is a common asthma trigger. An asthma trigger is anything that brings
on asthma symptoms.
Family, financial, or work stress has been shown to worsen asthma and the
overall severity of the disease, though the exact mechanism by which this
happens isnt clear
The physical effects of stress and a gush of emotions can act as asthma
triggers. When people cry or get anxious and upset, breathing becomes
harder, faster, and shallower. Crying also increases secretions, like mucus,
that can make breathing more difficult and make asthma symptoms much
worse.
Stress and anxiety can cause physiological changes that may provoke an
attack. These strong emotions trigger the release of chemicals, such as
histamine and leukotrienes, which can trigger the narrowing of your airway.
How to manage stress to avoid Asthma?
Identify the biggest causes of stress in your life: financial problems,
relationship conflicts, lack of social support, a jam-packed schedule, or
too many deadlines. If you cant find solutions to these problems on
your own, seek professional advice.
Delegate responsibility. Give up being a perfectionist and let others
pick up part of the workload.
Exercise. Its a great way to burn off the effects of stress.
Get enough sleep. Tired people simply dont cope with stress as well.
Learn relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle
relaxation, or clearing of negative thoughts.