Sunday, December 17, 2006

Stress - some facts!

75% of the general population experiences at least "some stress" every two weeks (National Health Interview Survey).

Almost 9 out of 10 adults have experienced serious stress. More than 4 out of 10 adults suffer adverse health affects from stress, and some estimates suggest that 75 percent to 90 percent of all physician clinic visits are for stress related complaints.

The effects of stress may lead to actual medical illnesses, including heart problems, stomach problems, high blood pressure and headaches.

Stress also affects the immune system, which protects us from many serious diseases.

Stress also contributes to the development of alcoholism, obesity, suicide, drug and, cigarette addiction, and other harmful behaviors.

Stress speeds up aging process, memory loss, hair loss, increase in body weight or building more fat.

$300 billion, or $7,500 per employee, is spent annually in the U.S. on stress-related compensation claims, reduced productivity, absenteeism, health insurance costs, direct medical expenses (nearly 50% higher for workers who report stress), and employee turnover.

It's a fact, people who experience regular stress at work are five times more likely to fall sick than those who don't and its costing UK industries dearly. Recent figures released by the Health and Safety Executive suggest that of 67 million working days lost each year 60 percent of these are stress related.

A survey of the UK’s leading risk managers has predicted that stress is likely to become the most dangerous emerging risk to business in the early part of the twenty-first century.
Following the recent £210,000 payout to the warden of a mobile-home site, the Association of Insurance and Risk Managers reckons that employee stress is the single main emerging risk for UK organizations and the third most important facing society as a whole after genetically modified organisms and e-commerce.

In women, stress causes fatigue, hair loss, bad complexion, insomnia, disruption of menstrual cycle, low libido, lack of orgasm etc.

Women, in fact, may be at higher risk than men are from stress-related chest pain, although men's hearts may be more vulnerable to adverse effects from long-term stress, such as from their jobs.

Working mothers, regardless of whether they are married or single, face higher stress levels and possibly adverse health effects, most likely because they bear a greater and more diffuse work load than men or other women. This has been observed in women in the US and in Europe. Such stress may also have a domino and harmful effect on their children

Depressed or aggressive mothers are particularly powerful sources of stress in children, even more important than poverty or overcrowding. Children are frequent victims of stress because they are often unable to communicate their feelings accurately or their responses to events over which they have no control.

Girls tend to become stressed from interpersonal situations, and stress is more likely to lead to depression in girls than in boys

For boys, one study suggested events such as changing schools or poor grades are the most important sources of stress. Another indicated, however, that the probability of childhood behavioral difficulties in a boy is increased with the number and type of stressors encountered in the home.

As people age, the ability to achieve a relaxation response after a stressful event becomes more difficult. Aging may simply wear out the systems in the brain that respond to stress, so that they become inefficient. The elderly, too, are very often exposed to major stressors such as medical problems, the loss of a spouse and friends, a change in a living situation, and financial worries.

Studies show that caregivers of physically or mentally disabled family members are at risk for chronic stress. Spouses caring for a disabled partner are particularly vulnerable to a range of stress-related health threats including influenza, depression, heart disease, and even poorer survival rates. Caring for a spouse with even minor disabilities can induce severe stress. (Intervention programs that are aimed at helping the caregiver approach the situation positively can be very helpful at reducing stress and helping the caregiver maintain a positive attitude.) Wives experience significantly greater stress from care giving than husbands, and, according to a 2000 study, tend to feel more negative about their husbands than care giving husbands feel about their wives.

The lack of an established network of family and friends predisposes one to stress disorders and stress-related health problems, including heart disease and infections. And, a 2000 study reported that older people who maintain active relationships with their adult children are buffered against the adverse health effects of chronic stress-inducing situations, such as low income or lower social class. One study suggested this may be because people who live alone are unable to discuss negative feelings and so relieve their stress.

According to one survey, 40% of American workers describe their jobs as very stressful. Job-related stress is particularly likely to become chronic because it is such a large part of daily life. And, stress in turn reduces a worker's effectiveness by impairing concentration, causing sleeplessness, and increasing the risk for illness, back problems, accidents, and lost time. Work stress can lead to harassment or even violence while on the job. At its most extreme, stress that places such a burden on the heart and circulation may be fatal.