Butson & Jeremiah 2021

While good stress is an accepted and important component of an engaging lifestyle, there is always the potential for stress to go bad, damaging our psychological and physiological wellbeing. When an experience is perceived as stressful, the body prepares by activating adaptive processes to alter a variety of body systems structurally and functionally for readiness. This process of stabilizing physiologic parameters to match external stimuli is typically known as allostasis and reflects the bodies reaction to acute or episodic incidents. However, in chronic stress states, it has been noted that the process of allostasis is inhibited, exposing the body to elevated or fluctuating endocrine and neural activity. This state is typically quantified as a measure of allostatic load. Drawing on the theory of allostasis, we argue that the concept of allostatic load offers a measurable physiological marker that could aid in determining when stress levels begin to become destructive. New developments in wearable technology, means it is now possible to capture continuous, naturally occurring data over days, weeks, or months. In this article, we build a case for the recognition and role of allostatic load in understanding stress and outline the potential of new biometric wearable devices to capture the core physiological markers that allow us to profile the presence of allostatic load.