Stress-genomics

Stressgenomics

Stress is the body’s response to a stimulus or condition that causes tension. This reaction ensures that the body is both physically and mentally ready to respond quickly and adequately to the cause of the stimulus.

However, when this form of acute stress occurs so often and for a long time that the body continuously remains at an elevated stress level, we speak of chronic stress.

How the body reacts to acute stress and how sensitive it is to suffer from chronic stress is determined by the genes in addition to external influences.

NOTE: The Stress-genomics-Report can only be purchased in conjunction with the Somnogenomics-report.

Worrier versus Warrior

The worrier-versus-warrior gene, widely cited in the media, is a genetic variant located in the COMT gene. The properties associated with this variant have been extensively researched and relate to how people deal with psychological stress.

A worrier ( loosely translated: thinker) is generally less resistant to stress than a warrior (loosely translated: doer), whereby the warrior usually takes action quickly in a stressful situation, while a worrier can assess the situation analytically more quickly.

Stress and social support

People turn to each other for support during times of stress and emotional events. This social support ensures that stress is reduced and that you can better deal with the emotions that are experienced.

Social support, with in the workplace, for example, also appears to be important in the prevention of burnout. However, the extent to which social support has an effect on stress levels is not the same for everyone. Genetic variants have been associated with the difference in the influence of social support on stress.

Recovery from acute stress

We experience acute stress several times a day. An acute stress response is generally triggered by an immediate perceived threat, whether physical, emotional, or psychological. Acute stress causes the release of cortisol, also called the stress hormone, which is important for the energy the body needs in a stressful situation.

When the stress stimulus is over, the cortisol level should return to the baseline level. How fast this happens is influenced by genetic variants, with slow recurrence also associated with an increased risk of chronic stress.

Heart rate response to stress

The stress response is originally a fight-and-flight response, in which the body is in a high state of readiness, for example because an aggressor provides a stress stimulus. One of the effects of this is that the heart rate increases to provide the muscles with enough oxygen to fight or flee.

The The degree of heart rate increase under the influence of a stress stimulus can partly be traced back to genetic differences between people.

Effect of stress on the body

Chronic stress causes an increase in the level of cortisol, the stress hormone, for a longer period of time. Cortisol is important for the body to release the energy needed in a stressful situation, but if this situation lasts longer than normal, it can lead to a disturbance of the metabolism.

This disturbance can cause changes in body weight and an increase in factors that can cause cardiovascular disease. The extent to which cortisol has this effect is influenced by different genetic variants.

Workload

Work pressure is one of the most important stressors that people can experience on a daily basis and can have a big impact on functioning.

One person experiences work pressure differently than another and therefore also handles it differently. One can perform very well under pressure, while another literally gets stressed and will not only work less efficiently, but also feel less comfortable.

For these differences between people, a number of genetic variants have been identified that play a role in this and cause some people to experience work pressure as particularly stressful.

Worrier versus Warrior

Stress and social support

Recovery from acute stress

Heart rate response to stress

Effect of stress on the body

Workload

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