Physiological Stress

What is physiological stress?

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) has a direct role in our bodies response to stress.  The ANS is divided into two systems:

  • Sympathetic Nervous System: Responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ response, causing an increase in heart rate (HR) and blood pressure as well as elevated blood glucose levels and a decrease in heart rate variability (HRV).
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System: Responsible for the traditional ‘rest and digest response’ leading to decreasing HR and blood pressure whilst stabilising blood glucose levels and increasing HRV.

These two systems are always active - it is the balance between the two that dictates if someone is in a predominantly stressed or recovery state.

Physiological stress is the stress of your body and it originates from the ANS being in a sympathetically dominant state.

Stress is not always bad!

It is useful to remember that stress serves a useful function and is not inherently bad.

A stress reaction can trigger you to move quickly out of the way of a fast-moving car or heighten your responses in a potentially dangerous situation. We have evolved to deploy stress as a survival tool.

What can harm us is chronic or long-lasting stress responses.

Increasingly, our modern lifestyles are triggering stress at a disproportionate rate and for longer periods of time. This is where stress begins to pose a risk to our health.

Why is it important to measure and understand stress?

Monitoring of stress over a period of time allows you to see patterns and gain valuable insights into your health and wellness.

Using ECG to view your stress levels over a number of days will help you understand and manage what your body is going through, enabling you to take actions to reduce your overall stress.

Stress can impact health and increase risk of heart disease and stroke . Therefore, monitoring stress can save lives.

B-Secur’s HeartKey® monitors your ECG and derives and quantitative measurement of your current stress state, enabling you to understand your body’s true state and take appropriate actions.

In January 2020, B-Secur’s CTO, Adrian Condon, recorded his physiological data for a 10-day period whilst at CES (one of the world’s largest global technology conferences).

"The data was extracted from the device and ran through B-Secur’s HeartKey® Physiological Stress algorithm to gain insights throughout an important company event.

"HeartKey® has proven medical grade accuracy even in a wearable form factor. You can imagine how useful this data is managing personal wellness and health as well as new insightful information for your doctor."

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HeartKey® Physiological Stress algorithm performance validation is available under NDA.

Physical impact of stress

White Paper: Measuring, Understanding and Mitigating Stress with ECG Biometrics