Understanding the Stress/Health Connection

Detroit Medical Center

Stress exists in your mind -- but it's also evident in your stomach, heart, muscles and even your toes. "In fact, stress may affect every cell in your body," says M. Ronald Glaser, Ph.D., a professor at Ohio State University Medical School.

During stressful times, your body produces various chemicals, including cortisol, an immune-suppressing hormone. The more cortisol produced, the weaker your immune cells become and the more susceptible you are to illness. "A one-day stressor isn't going to make a big change in your risk of getting a cold, for example," says Dr. Glaser. "But a chronic stressor that lasts a few weeks could dampen your immune response and create a risk of disease."...

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What Those Blood Pressure Numbers Mean

Detroit Medical Center

A quick, painless test measures blood pressure: A rubber cuff is wrapped around your arm and inflated; that compresses an artery in your arm and momentarily stops your blood flow. A technician uses a stethoscope to measure your blood pressure when the pressure in the cuff is slowly released...

Blood pressure readings are a double measurement of the force of the blood against arterial walls. The two measurements indicate how much pressure builds up in the arteries as the heart beats and between beats. The first, higher number is the systolic pressure, which indicates the heart's pumping force. The second, lower number is the diastolic pressure, which indicates the flexibility and clogging in the arteries. The higher the blood pressure, the more resistance there is to blood flow...

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Diabetes and Heart Disease

Detroit Medical Center

Heart and vascular disease often go hand in hand with diabetes. People with diabetes are at a much greater risk for heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure. Another vascular problem due to diabetes includes poor circulation to the legs and feet. Unfortunately, many of the cardiovascular problems can start early in life and may go undetected for years...

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