In the early work done on stress by Walter Cannon and Hans Selye they were looking at the positive benefits of the condition. Dr. Cannon worked on the flight or fight response caused when an animal felt threatened. The response of rapid heart rate, increased alertness and other physiological effects can help an animal in a threatening environment.
Dr. Selye found the chemical cortisol and saw that its continued presence caused harm to the immune system, enlarged the adrenal gland and caused stomach ulcers. Stress can be a self sustaining problem by influencing people to continue with maladaptive behaviors.
There are a number of symptoms that appear with excess stress. They can include a change in sleep patterns or eating habits, anxiety, irritability and fatigue. The stress that we feel as we age is an area that has to be addressed as Americans get older.
It’s easy for the family member that cares for loved ones with cognitive problems to fall into a pattern that will lead to more stress in their lives. Ignoring things like diet and exercise and not setting aside time to relax can all lead to excess stress.
Specialty Care Services can help this situation by arranging for a home heath aide to visit daily. Having a trained senior care provider to offer help with meal planning and medication can improve the situation for both the caregiver and the patient.