The main function of the outermost layer of epidermis of the skin which is stratum corneum is to regulate the epidermal permeability and serve as a physical, chemical and anti-microbial defense system (Slominski, 2007). The skin possesses a natural microbial defense system that include the elements of the innate immune system in the likes of producing antimicrobial peptides, lipids, proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines. The author revealed that psychological stress disrupts the antimicrobial barrier of the skin thereby promoting the severity of the cutaneous infection.
This reaction to stress by the skin is governed by endogenous glucocorticoids produced by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis as a result of stress. The author revealed that a big number of skin diseases in the likes of atopic dermatitis and psoriasis are precipitated by the inability of the individual to cope up with chronic stressful events in his life. Stress and the Respiratory System The reaction of the respiratory system to stress starts with the HPA axis activation similar to coping up mechanism of other physiological system of the body. In the case of the respiratory system, stress reaction
is carried out in a sort of intersection with the HPA axis. There is an additional reaction in the periphery and that is the production of adrenocorticothropin or ACTH from the anterior pituitary gland. The ACTH stimulates cortisol production and secretion (Abelson , Khan & Giardino, 2010). Cortisol is responsible for anti-inflammatory effect on airway in relation to stress. In addition, the author revealed that as a reaction to stress, cytokines such as IL-1, IL-8 and TNF-apha is co-produced with cortisol. These cytokines enhance the immune response and possesses anti-inflammatory property against allergens
which invade the respiratory system. Moreover, acute HPA axis activation reduces the local inflammatory reaction and short term immunity thus preventing the damage from excessive activation and leads to suppression of immune and inflammatory responses. The author revealed that the psychiatric disorder known as panic disorder or PA is caused by abnormality of the respiratory control system and the HPA axis. Symptoms of the disorder include excessive palpitations, difficulty in breathing and hyperventilation. PD is characterized by acute and
unexpected anxiety attacks and elevated nervousness over the fear of experiencing another one. According to the author, PA is a case of HPA axis hyperactivity. Summary and Conclusion It can now be confidently concluded that the key to health and well being of an individual lies in his inherent and developed skill and capacity to deal with stress. It was proven from reliable sources that stress can cause hormonal imbalance of the physiological systems which will lead to illness. Excellent cardiovascular health which can be achieved through excellent stress management will result to smooth
functioning of the different physiological systems of the body namely gastrointestinal, immunological, dermatological and respiratory systems. Manage stress for it will make our lives worth living. References Abelson, J. L. , Khan, S. , and Giardino, N. (2010). HPA axis, respiration and the airways in stress—A review in search of intersections. Biological Psychology, 84(3), 57-65. Azpiroz, A. , Garmendia, L. Fano, E. and Sanchez-Martin, J. (2003). Relations between aggressive behavior, immune activity and disease susceptibility. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 8(4), 433-453 Brotman, D. J.
Golden, S. H. , and Wittstein, I. S. (2007). The cardiovascular toll of stress. The Lancet, 370(9592), 1089-1100. Monnikes, H. , Tebbe, J. J. , Hildebrant, M. , Ark, P. , Osmanoglou, E. , Rose, M. , Klapp, B. , Weidenmann, B. , and Heymann-Monnikes, I. , (2007) Role of Stress in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders Evidence for Stress-Induced Alterations in Gastrointestinal Motility and Sensitivity. Digestive Diseases, 19(3), 201-211 Slominski, A. , (2007). A nervous breakdown in the skin: stress and the epidermal barrier. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 117(11), 3166-3169. vvvvvvvv