CVD / Stress Management

In chapter 9, the author focuses on Cardiovascular Disease which is a major killer of most people in the world today. The chapter starts by acknowledging the fact that heart diseases have a genetic origin. However, it is pointed out that adopting a healthy diet lifestyle is critical in reducing incidences of heart diseases. The author provides a definition of what Cardiovascular Disease is and the level at which this disease is prevalent among people, especially the American society. The disease seems to affect most of the people’s economic statuses since they have to spend a lot of money to manage it. The article continues by discussing different types of Cardiovascular Disease. The first type is the arteriosclerosis disorder that is characterized by narrowing or hardening of the arteries. The ultimate result is a blockage of the arteries that cause a serious heart attack.

The author moves on by discussing coronary heart disease. According to the chapter, this disorder comes as a result of the atherosclerotic plaque that blocks one or more blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. In most cases, chest pains are attributed to a blockage of more than 75% of the artery that supplies blood to the heart. On the other hand, stroke is a form of Cardiovascular Disease that results from a shortage of blood supply to the brain. This comes after arteries that supply blood to the brain are blocked.

In the next section, the author focuses on the risk factors that lead to Cardiovascular Diseases particularly the coronary heart disease. Poor health practices like smoking and fatty diets are the central risk factors in acquiring this disease. Food that is high in fat content increase the cholesterol level of blood that eventually increases the risk of blood vessel blockage. Cardiovascular disorders may come from genes hence, hereditary. Similarly, the other illnesses like diabetes mellitus may eventually lead to cardiovascular diseases. According to the chapter, a healthy diet and avoiding incidences of smoking are vital in preventing Cardiovascular diseases. In addition, the author proposes that a person having this illness should be physically active to cut down on the level of cholesterol in the blood.     

In chapter 10, the author focuses on stress, factors that lead to stress and how a person can manage stress. From the introduction of the chapter, it is clear that it is inevitable to lead a stress free life. Stress generally emanates from the everyday experiences as people interact within their natural environment. In the first section of this chapter, the author tries to give a scientific definition of what stress is. According to this chapter, during the stress the body remains in a state of mental and physical tension. As a result, the body’s system becomes imbalanced. However, the author brings out clearly that stress is not entirely bad. People need a particular level of stress in order for their system to perform well. For instance, in the event a person is being faced with a challenge like preparing for an exam, he or she requires some level of stress that is not beyond the optimum so that he/she can perform well during the examination. This is attributed to the release of some hormones that will facilitate for the hard work.

Similarly, the chapter reveals that stress is a result of one or more stressors that range from physical to mental disposition. Regardless of the type of stressor involved in causing stress, the body responds physiologically and mentally through feeling strain, tension and anxiety. The author of this book has classified the two categories of stressors into subdivision. The stressors can be acute, cumulative or chronic. It is clear that among the three subcategories of stress, a chronic level of stress is unhealthy for a person. The author brings out a clear distinction between positive stress and negative stress. The positive one as mentioned in the chapter is optimal level that helps an individual to perform well and excel. The negative one causes a breakdown of the normal functioning of the body system.

In the next section of the chapter, the author looks at the physiological responses that follow incidences of stress. In the case of acute stress, the first signs are increase heartbeat rate, heightened senses and the release of endorphins. According to the author, these are the reactions that emanate from the central nervous system that apparently controls all the actions in the event of stressing incidences like missing being hit by a car. The hypothalamus is a section of the brain that controls the release of hormones like epinephrine, norepinephrine and the cortisol hormones, which get released into the bloodstream to help alleviate the stress. In most cases, the responses are either voluntary or involuntary. It is clear from the chapter that the involuntary responses are controlled by the automatic nervous system.

The responses are usually a call for either fight or flight. The chapter recognizes fight or flight responses as having been discovered by scholars like Walter Canon and Hans Selye. It is evident according to Psychologist Canon that once an individual faces a threat, the brain initiates a sequence of physiological and psychological alterations that prepare the body system for an action. A person’s body system has stimulation reactions that help him/her to fight or flee. In the same way, blood is directed away from the digestive tract to the muscles to provide an extra energy for the fight or flight. As a result, an individual increases his knowledge of the environment, increases the impulse and decreases pain perception.

The chapter also points out that people have different ways of responding to stress. This is attributed to the diversity in personality behavior patterns. In this section, the author embarks on unveiling different ways in which personality and behavior patterns can be described. In bringing out personality disposition, the author has relied on explaining aspects that affect the level of stress within an individual’s system. Past experiences are central in the determination of the stress levels for different people. The author says that understanding of the factors of a person’s personality can be fascinating and entertaining. However, it is pointed out that it is critical to understand that finally these are people’s perceptions of the stressors and the manner in which they react to the stressors that determine the ultimate health impact to the body. People learn from the experiences, and this enables them to react positively on the following stressing events.

On the other hand, the chapter outlines that gender is a vital factor when it comes to managing stress. Although there is no scientific prove that psychological reactions to stress vary according to gender, there is a level in which gender affects how people respond to the stressing events. According to the social perspective, women are generally known to express their stress more openly as opposed to men. The author continues to look at some causes of stress. In this section, the chapter acknowledges that interpersonal relationships are crucial in causing stress in people. In the final part of the chapter, the author takes on an extensive exploration of stress and health. According to the author, chronic stress leads to such illnesses as heart diseases, depression, and migraines.

Ultimately, the chapter turns on unveiling some of the ways that can be used to manage stress. In any stressing event, resting through the sleep is significant in managing stress. This gives time for the system to normalize the blood circulation within the body. A person can also manage stress by engaging in the interesting events like exercise to take the mind away from the incidence that seemed stressful. Relaxation strategies are also imperative in coping up with stress.    

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