Stress on Kidneys and Resistance Essay

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The General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS)

The GAS is a universal three staged response to stress introduced by Dr. Hans Selye; a very well-known Canadian endocrinologist. It has a colossal impact on the kidneys and the renal system. However, before fully understanding its impact, one must familiarize themselves with the renal system itself.

The Renal System

The renal system, sometimes also referred to as the urinary or the excretory system includes a group of organs that work together to produce, store and release urine. The kidneys located at the back of the abdominal cavity are vital to the proper functioning of the renal system. Some of the main functions carried out by the renal system in a body includes controlling the body's water balance, regulation of blood pressure via the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, regulation of blood electrolyte balance, excretion of metabolic wastes such as urea, and creatinine, regulating body's acid base balance, regulation of red blood cells production via the hormone erythropoietin. (Birmingham City University January 2011)

"According to Selye, there are three stages to the General Adaptation Syndrome. These include:

Stage 1: Alarm Reaction:

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This is the first stage of GAS. Here the body releases adrenaline and a variety of other psychological mechanisms in order to combat the stress and to stay in control. This is sometimes also called fight or flight response. Here, any physical or mental trauma will trigger an immediate set of reactions that combat the stress. Because the immune system is initially depressed, normal levels of resistance are lowered, making the body more susceptible to infection and disease. If the stress is not severe or long-lasting, you tend to bounce back and recover rapidly.

Stage 2: Resistance:

TOPIC: Essay on Stress on Kidneys and Resistance Assignment

Eventually, sometimes rather quickly, a body adapts to stress, and there's actually a tendency to become more resistant to illness and disease. The immune system works overtime during this period, trying to keep up with the demands placed upon it. Overtime, the mind becomes complacent about the situation and assumes that it can resist the effects of stress indefinitely. Therein lays the danger; believing that the mind is immune from the effects of stress, hence typically failing to do anything about it.

Stage 3: Exhaustion:

Because a human body is not able to maintain homeostasis and the long-term resistance needed to combat stress, it invariably develops a sudden drop in its resistance level. No one experiences exactly the same resistance and tolerance to stress, but everyone's immunity at some point collapses following prolonged stress reactions. Life sustaining mechanisms slow down and sputter, organ systems begin to break down, and stress-fighting reserves finally succumb to what Selye called diseases of adaptation." (Health News Network)

Many scientists now consider the GAS as one of the leading causes of stress ultimately leading to severe health problems. By changing the way our body normally functions, stress disrupts the natural balance which is crucial for one's well-being. "It can also subtract years from our lives by speeding up the aging process. Resistance is the name of the game when it comes to disease. Stress is one of the most significant factors in lowering resistance and triggering the various mechanisms involved in the disease process." (Health News Network) Perhaps by learning relaxation and stress management techniques, one can improve their overall health as well as the odds of living a disease-free life.

REFERENCES

Sapolsky, R.M. (2004) Why Zebras don't get ulcers. Pp, 19-36

Health Information Publication. Available from [Accessed on 3rd April 2011]

Birmingham City University January 2011 Available from [Accessed on 3rd April 2011]

Health News Network. Available from

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