Patho Patho #3

Question

What is the best explanation of the “alarm” stage of stress?

Answers

  1. “The body is placed under psychological stress and responds by releasing anti-diuretic hormone.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer choice is not correct because anti-diuretic hormone is not released during the initial alarm stage of stress. This hormone causes fluid retention by the kidneys in response to poor renal perfusion.

  2. “The body enters “fight or flight” mode and releases epinephrine and norepinephrine in response.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because epinephrine and norepinephrine are released during the alarm stage of stress. They cause a direct increase in heart rate and blood pressure in order to prepare the body for “fight or flight”.

  3. “The body experiences pain and releases anti-inflammatory mediators to reduce pain sensations.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer choice is not correct as anti-inflammatory mediators are not released during the alarm stage of stress. There is no mention of pain in the stem of the question so mediators to correct the pain response are not relevant to what the question is asking.

  4. “A person is placed under physical stress and responds by releasing aldosterone to reduce blood pressure.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer choice is not correct as aldosterone is a hormone released in response to poor renal perfusion. Aldosterone causes sodium and fluid retention in order to improve blood pressure and organ perfusion.

Overview

The body’s response to stress is broken down into 3 basic stages: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion. The alarm stage is when the body is initially alerted to a potential threat and the initial response to the stressor is initiated. The major hormones that regulate this stage are the catecholamines, epinephrine and norepinephrine.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

The body’s response to stress is referred to as general adaptation syndrome and is broken down into 3 distinct phases. The alarm stage occurs in response to the initial exposure to a stressor in which the “fight or flight” mechanisms respond with the release of epinephrine and norepinephrine. During the resistance stage the body begins to repair itself as it enters the recovery stage and the exhaustion phase occurs in response to prolonged or chronic exposure to stress.

Test Taking Tip

Always pay close attention to what the stem of the question is asking. There is not mention of pain in the stem so the answer choice referring to pain control may be automatically ruled out.

Video Rationale