The heart and blood vessels comprise the two elements of the cardiovascular system that work together in providing nourishment and oxygen to the organs of the body. The activity of these two elements is also coordinated in the body's response to stress. Acute stress — stress that is momentary or short-term such as meeting deadlines, being stuck in traffic or suddenly slamming on the brakes to avoid an accident — causes an increase in heart rate and stronger contractions of the heart muscle, with the stress hormones — adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol — acting as messengers for these effects. In addition, the blood vessels that direct blood to the large muscles and the heart dilate, thereby increasing the amount of blood pumped to these parts of the body and elevating blood pressure. This is also known as the fight or flight response. Once the acute stress episode has passed, the body returns to its normal state.
"Stress doesn't only make us feel awful emotionally," says Jay Winner, MD, author of Take the Stress Out of Your Life and director of the Stress Management Program for Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara, Calif. "It can also exacerbate just about any health condition you can think of."
Studies have found many health problems related to stress. Stress seems to worsen or increase the risk of conditions like obesity , heart disease , Alzheimer's disease , diabetes , depression , gastrointestinal problems, and asthma .
In many cases, it's the spouse or children who has detected a change in personality over the past several years -- "He/She is more cranky than he/she used to be; he/she has a shorter fuse and is quicker to anger than he/she used to be". In some cases, its ONLY the spouse who notices a big difference in the patient with the parathyroid problem, while the person with the parathyroid problem will claim they don't see much difference in their personality. After the parathyroid operation, spouses typically comment that their husband or wife sleeps better, can remember things better, and is easier to get along with -- "After the operation, he/she quickly returned to his/her old self again!". As Dr Norman says: "A good parathyroid surgeon can save a lot of marriages!"