The Impacts of Stress on a Patient’s Health

Mental and physical health are crucial components to every human’s well-being around the world. People tend to overlook how fortunate they are to wake up every morning and go about their daily endeavors without any health restraints. On the other hand, there are people who are constantly struggling internal and external wellness battles. During times of uncertainty and sickness, people’s emotional state is disturbed, which often worsens their conditions. Patients face increasing stress levels in these situations and face harmful consequences. The human body is programmed to react to stress in a certain way. However, high levels of stress become threatening to the body, especially with the presence of additional health concerns. While medical procedures and prescriptions aim to cure those suffering from mental and physical issues, this is not the only form of help people need. Social support is a controllable and effective way people are able to reduce patients’ stress levels in times of despair. Checking in on loved ones, assembling care packages, and sending thoughtful messages are a few examples of how social support benefits patients’ emotional state.

Evidence in the Data

In the article, The Role of Social Relations in Health Promotion, located in, Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehaviorial Medicine, Lisa Berkman drew important conclusions from an observational study that analyzed death rates correspondence to patients’ support systems. Berkman collected data from a sample of 194 patients who endured a health condition called Myocardial infraction, more commonly known as a a heart attack. The amount of emotional support sources each patient had, along with each groups death rate was recorded once they were admitted into the hospital. The death rate of those with no social support system was over three times higher than those with two or more sources of support. Six months later, additional data was collected from these hospitalized patients. This trend remained steady as the patients with no support sources had more than double the amount of deaths than patients with two or more emotional support sources. This study does not state that the presence of a support system will completely cure patients’ health conditions, but proves its importance and benefits.

Support Others the Way You Want Them to Support You

Those who are fortunate enough to have healthy mental and physical states do not always understand what it is like for those who are struggling. It easy to get wrapped up in your own life and focus on what directly impacts you. However, it is important to take a step back and re-adjust your perspective. Often times our problems can seem monumental, but when you look at the bigger picture, you will realize that there are people in need of your help. Research and data have proven that showing up and supporting a loved one provides tremendous health benefits. You never know when life may throw you a curveball, and if it happens, you would want people to be there for you as well. Claire Lewis is a sophomore at UNC from Columbia, SC. Claire endured a traumatic cancer scare in 2018 that involved many doctor’s appointments, scans, and a final procedure. Looking back on her experience, Claire emphasized the impact her friends and family had on her throughout this time. Now that Claire has seen first-hand how much social support can affect a patient in need, she has learned to make it a priority to do the same for others.