[ELI5] allostatic overload


This term came up in a podcast I listen to and most google results were journal papers. Is it the same as chronic stress?

In: Biology

**Allostasis and Allostatic Load**
Rather than referring to everything dealing with responses to environmental and psychosocial situations as “stress,” we have provided a new formulation using two new terms, “allostasis” and “allostatic load.” Allostasis, meaning literally “maintaining stability (or homeostasis) through change” was introduced by Sterling and Eyer (33) to describe how the cardiovascular system adjusts to resting and active states of the body. This notion can be applied to other physiological mediators, such as the secretion of cortisol as well as catecholamines, and the concept of “allostatic load” was proposed to refer to the wear and tear that the body experiences due to repeated cycles of allostasis as well as the inefficient turning-on or shutting off of these responses (22;26). As an example of allostatic load, the persistent activation of blood pressure in dominant male cynomologus monkeys vying for position in an unstable dominance hierarchy is reported to accelerate atherosclerotic plaque formation (17). Blood pressure surges accompany the social confrontations and catecholamines are elevated during those surges. Together, the blood pressure and catecholamine elevations accelerate atherosclerosis, as shown by the fact that the acceleration of atherosclerosis in dominant monkeys was prevented by beta adrenergic blocking drugs (18).