Stressful Terms and Concepts
“Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.”—William Shakespeare
Hans Selye proposed the following classical terms to describe and define stress:
Stressor is an internal or external factor that makes demands on an individual and tends to disrupt homeostasis. Stressors include physical trauma, disease, social events and situations, and the demands of exercise and competition.
Stress is the body’s reaction to a stressor, real or imagined. Acute stressors affect an organism in the short term; chronic stressors over the long term. Examples of stress include fever, hormone release, inflammation, hypertension, and tachycardia.
Eustress is enhanced mental or physical function in response to stressors.
Distress is physical or mental deterioration in response to stressors.
General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) is a sequence of reactions that occurs in response to stressors that is universal in vertebrates.
Alarm is the first stage of the GAS. When the stressor is identified or realized, the body’s stress response is a state of alarm. During this stage the HPA axis is activated and hormones such as adrenalin, glucagon, and cortisol are produced in order to bring about the fight-or-flight response.
Resistance is the second stage of the GAS. The body attempts to adapt to the continuing presence of environmental stressors, but its resources are gradually depleted.
Exhaustion is the third and final stage of the GAS model. At this point, of the body’s resources are depleted and the body is unable to maintain normal function. The initial autonomic nervous system symptoms may reappear (sweating, increased heart rate, etc.). If stage three is extended, long-term damage may result as the capacity of the immune system and glands, especially the adrenal gland, become exhausted. There is functional deterioration of previously working structures and systems. This can manifest itself in obvious illnesses such as ulcers, depression, diabetes, digestive disturbances, cardiovascular problems and mental illnesses.
More recently, the newer terms "allostasis" and "allostatic load" have supplanted Selye's classical terms:
Allostasis is the process that enables an organism to maintain homeostasis in the presence of environmental adversity through adaptation or change. Allostasis is known to involve the autonomic nervous system, the HPA axis, and cardiovascular, metabolic, and immune effects that are assumed to protect the body by responding to internal and external stimuli.
Allostatic Load is physiological “wear and tear” on the body that results from ongoing adaptive efforts to maintain stability (homeostasis) in response to stressful environmental factors. The activity of the SRM explains how this happens.
Stress theory clarifies these terms:
Disease is stress-induced MSM hyperactivity that produces pathological excesses of thrombin, soluble fibrin and insoluble fibrin and depletes MSM substrates such as fibrinogen, ATP, and blood enzymes. Such MSM hyperactivity explains catabolism, malaise, edema, fever, inflammation, allodynia, exudates, pus, scabs, abscesses, tachycardia, hypertension, amyloidosis, atherosclerosis, accelerated capillary senescence, infarction, cancer, hypercoagulability, hyperviscosity, hemostasis failure, organ dysfunction, and death.
Amyloidosis is dysfunctional MSM hyperactivity that involves abnormal actin metabolism that consumes Factor X and vitamin D and generates pathological amyloid protein in the manner of a “vicious cycle.” It is closely associated with both atherosclerosis and accelerated capillary senescence, and may cause both. It may therefore be the most important single factor in longevity.
Atherosclerosis is pathological tissue repair activity induced by particulate deposition on the inner walls of arteries due to inadequate diastolic arterial turbulence. It is closely associated with amyloidosis and accelerated capillary senescence.
Essential Hypertension is accelerated capillary senescence that increases blood viscosity, exaggerates blood pressure, inhibits cardiac output, increases cardiac work, and undermines tissue perfusion.
Type I Diabetes is accelerated capillary senescence in pancreatic tissues that inhibits insulin release into blood.
Apoptosis is programmed cell death induced by thrombin starvation that occurs normally and harmlessly during embryological development, the resolution of tissue repair, and cancer resolution. It contrasts sharply with toxic and traumatic cell death that releases harmful substances.
Infarction is ischemic cell death that is preceded by accelerated capillary senescence and precipitated by acute stress
Nociceptors are sensory neurons (nerve cells) in organs and tissues that detect mechanical, thermal, or chemical changes above a set threshold.
Nociception is nervous sensory information generated by nociceptors in peripheral tissues and organs. Once stimulated, nociceptors transmit signals along peripheral nerves to ascending nociception pathways in the spinal cord that transmit nociception signals to the brain. They also activate sympathetic ganglia in the chest and abdomen via internuncial neurons, which releases von Willebrand Factor from the vascular endothelium to close the capillary gate. Consciousness can inhibit nociception via descending pathways from the brain to the spinal cord.
Pain is the perception of nociception by consciousness. It activates SNS ganglia via descending hypothalamic pathways. Emotional mechanisms can either exaggerate or inhibit pain.
Anesthesia is the reversible abolition of consciousness by hypnotic (tranquilizing) drugs and anesthetic inhalation agents. The partial inhibition of consciousness abolishes the perception of pain but does not affect harmful nociception in spinal cord pathways.
Analgesia is the reversible inhibition of nociception. Aspirin and NSAID agents inhibit nociceptors. Lidocaine, marcaine and other local analgesics inhibit sensory nerves. Opioids inhibit spinal cord nociception pathways.
Chronic Pain Syndrome, neurosis, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are lingering subconscious emotional memories that mimic pain and induce anxiety, fear, and SNS activity despite the absence of nociception and danger.
Anesthesia is the use of reversible hypnotic agents that inhibit consciousness to prevent the perception of fearsome sensory input, including sight, sound, and nociception. Anesthesia prevents the perception of nociception, and prevents SNS stimulation by pain and fear.
Chemotaxis is the movement of cells toward thrombin elevations. It is a normal element of tissue repair
Mitosis is eukaryotic cell division that results in two daughter cells each having the same number and kind of chromosomes as the parent nucleus. It enables embryological development, tissue repair, and cell specialization.
Metabolism 1. The chemical processes occurring within a living cell or organism that are necessary for the maintenance of life. In metabolism some substances are broken down to yield energy for vital processes while other substances, necessary for life, are synthesized. 2. The processing of a specific substance within a living cell or organism: iodine metabolism. Increased metabolism commonly manifests as increased heat production.
Coagulation is the binding of blood cells into a viscoelastic clot by strands of insoluble fibrin to halt blood loss and regulate tissue repair.
Capillary Hemostasis is the halting of capillary blood loss by generating insoluble fibrin in the capillary lumen
Apoptosis is "programmed cell death" that occurs as a normal element of embryological development, tissue repair, and tissue maintenance. In contrast to traumatic cell death, apoptosis is harmless and releases no toxic cell products.
ARDS (Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome), MOFS (Multi-Organ Failure Syndrome), SIRS (Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome), SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), DIC (Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation), ARF (Acute Renal Failure), eclampsia, influenza, pneumonia, and asthma are closely related manifestations of acute MSM hyperactivity caused by severe environmental stress.