Following are links to some basic information about important health issues facing today's families.


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Stress Management.

Stress is unavoidable in today's hectic lives. But learning to live with it can be mastered by recognizing the causes of stress, its health implications and its treatment.

Causes of stress

Stress is a disease that can be compounded by multiple factors. Left unchecked, it can lead to health problems such as heart disease, emotional issues like depression or relationship problems.

Following are just a few causes of stress:

The area you live in: If you live in a neighborhood that is loud, dangerous, uncomfortable, overcrowded or polluted, it can increase your stress level significantly.

Your job: Everyone knows what it's like to be stressed at their place of work. This can include working in a negative environment, being employed in a position that is dangerous or demanding, or working at a company that is in the midst of a reorganization, downsizing, layoffs or management changes.

Social status: People who live in poverty, suffer from loneliness and isolation or are discriminated against tend to suffer higher stress levels.

Belief system conflicts: Being involved in situations that are at odds with your core beliefs or needs can create an amazing amount of undo stress in your life.

Life changes: A death in the family, a divorce, financial problems, teenagers, a child leaving home for the first time, personal tragedies or issues with friends can also cause stress.

Physical and emotional issues: People who have suffered an injury, underwent surgery, are undergoing rehabilitation or who have emotional problems may suffer from additional stress.


Symptoms of stress may include:

    • A rapid heartbeat
    • Stiff neck and tight shoulders
    • Headache
    • Backache
    • Rapid breathing
    • Sweat or sweaty palms
    • Upset stomach
    • Nausea
    • Diarrhea

Of course, you may also notice that your mental state is affected. You may find yourself more irritable, feel jumpy or exhausted, find it hard to concentrate, worry about things you can't control, have personal doubts, imagine the worst or feel like you're missing out on opportunities because you just can't act quickly enough.

Types of stress

Your body evolved in such a way that it uses stress as a coping mechanism when things seem demanding or dangerous. In short bursts, stress can even be healthy for you. But long-term stress can lead to many health complications including an abnormal heartbeat or even a heart attack.

Some of the ways that stress can affect:

The immune system: When your body becomes stressed, your immune system becomes suppressed, making you more susceptible to colds, minor infections and even major diseases.

Cardiovascular disease: Stress has been linked to high blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, problems with blood clotting and hardening of the arteries. The long term effects of stress include coronary artery disease, heart attack and heart failure.

Muscle pain: Stress can increase pain in the neck, shoulders and lower back. Over the long term, stress can contribute to the development of rheumatoid arthritis.

Stomach and intestinal problems: When you are stressed, you can develop gastroesophageal reflux disease, a peptic ulcer or irritable bowel syndrome.

Reproductive organs: Stress can cause painful menstrual periods, decrease your fertility or create difficulties in getting and maintaining an erection.

Lungs: Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can become much worse with stress.

Skin problems: Stress can cause acne or psoriasis to be much worse.


Stress can not only be overwhelming, but debilitating as well. If you suffer from stress and feel like it is out of control and affecting your life, you may want to see a health professional.

They may recommend the following treatments:

  • Therapy that helps you learn how to recognize stress and how your perception can affect your reaction to it. Therapy can also help you learn how to develop tools for dealing with stress.
  • Biofeedback can help you learn to control your body functions such as skin temperature, muscle tension and blood pressure. Learning these techniques can help you manage stress by controlling your response to it.
  • Hypnosis can help change your behavior through post-hypnotic suggestion.
  • Prescriptions that reduce or control anxiety can also help control stress. Certain serotonin inhibitors can short circuit the brain's "worry gene" which can can increase stress levels and anxiety.

Adapted from materials provided by AOL Health








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