Everyone knows that stress is bad for your health, right? But the science linking exposure to chronic stress — prolonged financial difficulties, relationship break-ups or the death of a loved-one, for example — and poor health outcomes down the line is really quite patchy. Part of the problem is that we all experience stress differently. Trying to link the ‘I feel stressed’ statements to biological changes that occur in the short term, and then risks for things like cardiovascular disease or type II diabetes is a tall order for those working in the field of stress biology. But the results are trickling in, from large-scale epidemiological studies such as the Whitehall study, to lab-based work on animal models to unpick the molecular mechanisms of stress.
Head over to ABC Health & Wellbeing to check out my article on the science behind chronic stress.