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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2005 Nov;30(10):1017-21.

Stress hormones in health and illness: the roles of work and gender.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Centre for Health Equity Studies, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden. ul@psychology.su.se

Abstract

Two neuroendocrine systems are of specific interest in the study of stress and health; the sympathetic adrenomedullary system with the secretion of epinephrine and norepinephrine, and the hypothalamic pituitary adrenocortical (HPA) system with the secretion of cortisol. These hormones have often been used as objective indicators of stress in the individual. However, through their bodily effects, they are also a link between the psychosocial environment and various health outcomes. From a series of studies of women and men, it was concluded that gender roles and psychological factors are more important than biological factors for the sex differences in stress responses. The stress responses have been important for human and animal survival and for protection of the body. However, in modern society, some of these bodily responses may cause harm rather than protection. The catecholamines have been linked to cardiovascular disorders such as hypertension, myocardial infarction and stroke, cortisol to cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, reduced immune function and cognitive impairment. An adequate balance between catabolic (mobilization of energy) and anabolic processes (growth, healing) is considered necessary for long term health and survival. In modern society, which is characterized by a rapid pace of life, high demands, efficiency and competitiveness in a global economy, it is likely that lack of rest, recovery and restitution is a greater health problem than the absolute level of stress.

PMID:
15963652
DOI:
10.1016/j.psyneuen.2005.03.014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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