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Womens Health 5


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  • 1. Chapter Five Managing the Stress of Life
  • 2. Concepts of Stress
    • Stress is the body’s response to the demands
    • A stressor is the demand itself
    • Debilitating or excessive stress is known as distress
    • Constructive stress is known as eustress
    • Initially, as stress increases, so does health, performance, and general well-being ( optimal stress )
    Maximum stress (beyond optimal stress) will deteriorate health and well-being
  • 3. Stress and Perception
    • The way you respond to an event is based upon how you perceive it
    • Perceptions are based upon your life experiences and immediate consequences
    • Experts believe that expectations come from social environments you integrate into your value system
    • These expectations can be less than, equal to, or exceed the demands of a particular situation
  • 4. General Adaptation Syndrome (Hans Selye, 1974)
    • 3 Stages of GAS:
      • alarm (fight or flight)
      • resistance (homeostasis)
      • exhaustion (illness, emotional/psychological breakdown)
    Research suggests that women and men respond to stress differently hormonally
  • 5. Stress Response Figure 5.2
  • 6. Autonomic Nervous System
    • This is activated by the posterior section of the hhypothalamus
    • The ANS excites and inhibits various bodily functions
    • The ANS stimulates the production of catecholamines (stress hormones) such as epinephrine and norepinephrine, resulting in changes of bodily functions
  • 7. Stress and “Dis-ease”
    • Hypertension
    • Stroke
    • Heart disease
    • Kidney disorders
    • Depression
    • Alcoholism
    • Gastro-intestinal
    • Auto-immune disorders
    • Sexual dysfunctions
    Prolonged stress can lead to these disorders
  • 8. Stress Amenorrhea
    • Menstruation stops because of physical or mental stress
    • Stress also can cause irregular menstrual cycles
    • Fasting, irregular eating habits, or too much exercise can cause amenorrhea
    • Consult with your health care provider if your experience any of the above symptoms
  • 9. Migraine
    • Migraines affect 28 million Americans, 75% of them are women (NINDS)
    • Symptoms occur in various combination and is often described as an intense pulsing or throbbing pain in one area of the head
    • Female sufferers report that migraines affect their ability to control their life
    • Causes are unknown, however, there is a strong genetic connection
    • Stress can trigger migraine headaches
  • 10. Stress and Pregnancy
    • Maternal stress can be harmful for both mother and expected child
    • High levels of stress can cause the following (March of Dimes, 1999):
        • Risk of preterm labor
        • Low infant birth weight
        • Labor and delivery complications
        • Miscarriage
    • Relaxation therapy such as biofeedback can be helpful
  • 11. Stress and Lifestyle
    • The following events can create significant stress in your life, resulting in possible health problems
        • Major Life Events
        • College Stress
          • Undergrad women students are more likely than men to report an unacceptable stress level (Campbell et al. 1992)
        • Daily Life Hassles
  • 12. Impact of Multiple Roles on Today’s Woman
    • A woman is expected to play multiple roles in her life which is demanding
    • Society views the woman as the “giver” vs. the “receiver” of assistance
    • Stressors are greater for those women employed with children in comparison
    • Middle aged women have a unique multiple role which can have a negative impact on her health
    • The “hurried woman syndrome” described a modernized stress-laden lifestyle which results in fatigue, weight gain, and low libido
  • 13. Destructive Qualities of Stress
    • Women described stress as the predictor of marital violence
    • A number of women turn to alcohol and cigarettes as a means of relieving stress
    • Stress, anxiety and depression are among the reported health problems of women which are due to:
        • Lower socioeconomic status
        • Ethnic minority
        • Complex family structure
        • Quality of family relationship
        • Intensity of the labor market
  • 14. Multicultural Issues
    • The following multicultural issues can cause stress levels to rise
      • Spiritual Beliefs
      • Ability to Acculturate
      • Racial Issues
      • Age Factors
  • 15. Financial Stress
    • Attempting to stay current with the use of modern technology is very expensive and very stressful
    • Women receive lower pay, offer fewer opportunities for advancement, and have less gains from experience and authority
    • Many women are expected to be caregivers and have a job to support the family
    • This burden affects relationships with added stress and reduces quality time for many families
  • 16. Environmental Stress
    • Many elements in the environment can produce stress, especially with women who tend to be sensitive towards stressors vs. men
    • Examples of environmental stressors are:
        • Overcrowding
        • Chemical toxins
        • Pollutants
        • Noise
        • Crime
  • 17. Coping Skills for Stress: Prevention, Management, and Treatment
    • Cognitive appraisal
    • Nutrition
    • Use of Herbs
    • Massage and Reflexology
    • Acupressure and Acupuncture
    • Exercise
    • Tai Chi
    • Time Management
    • Body Awareness
    • Relaxation Exercises
    • Biofeedback
    • Meditation
    • Yoga
    • Proper Breathing
    • Social Support
  • 18. Chapter Five Managing the Stress of Life