Stress Effects On The Body
Everyone experiences stress. Stress is just a natural reaction of your body from both positive and negative experiences. When you are in a state of stress, your muscles are tensed, your heart beats faster and you breathe harder. During the earliest times of human beings, stress is used as a form of survival mechanism. When a caveman encounters a large predator, the stress hormones are released and the body responds with an increased blood flow and oxygen to the brain which allows them to either fight or escape. In the modern society, the environmental conditions to cause stress have changed considerably. Man no longer needs to hunt for food and feel threatened by large predators, but everyone still experiences stress because of their jobs, relationships, and daily responsibilities from home or at work. Negative experiences, trauma, physical illnesses, disasters, violent attacks, arguments and many other factors can cause stress. Doctors found that chronic stress is also linked to various health problems.
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What Is Stress?
In biological terms, stress is an organism’s response to environmental conditions and other stressors. It is the body’s response when there is a threat nearby.
The demands and pressures of modern living have made it easier for the body to trigger stress. When the body is constantly in a heightened state of stress, then that person is suffering from chronic stress. Getting stressed frequently is bad for your health because it can disrupt the normal system of your body.
During heightened stress, your muscles tighten up because it is getting ready for any injury or pain. Frequent muscle tension caused by chronic stress can lead to headaches, body pains, and tightened muscles.
People who are frequently stressed out have weak immune system. Stress can inhibit the production of the body’s inflammatory response and histamine secretion against viruses and other foreign invaders. When your body has weak immune system, you are susceptible to viral illnesses such as common cold and influenza. The recovery period from illnesses also takes a longer time.
People under stress breathe heavier than usual. This is not a problem for most people, but it can be difficult for a person who has asthma or suffer from lung diseases. Studies show that severe stress can even trigger asthma attacks. Rapid breathing caused by stress is also very risky for people who are prone to panic attacks.
For men, chronic stress can cause the testosterone level to drop considerably. This can also disrupt the production of sperm and cause erectile dysfunction. The male reproductive system becomes prone to infection.
For women, chronic stress can disrupt their menstrual cycle. She can suffer from heavy painful menstruation, irregular menstruation, and even no menstruation. During menopause, the physical symptoms are heightened by chronic stress.
Since stress increases the heart rate and blood flow, the cardiovascular system has to work harder. When this happens frequently, the constant increase in blood pressure and heart rate can lead to heart attack, hypertension, and stroke.
Stress can affect how fast your food goes through the body. When the digestive system is affected by stress, it can cause diarrhea or constipation. Chronic stress can also lead to stomach pains and ulcer.
Stress triggers the body to produce more blood sugar. This can be a problem for people who are overweight or obese because they are more vulnerable to Type 2 Diabetes.
Stress is strongly linked to these illnesses below:
- Anxiety and Depression
- Heart Disease
- Chronic Rhinitis
- Hair Loss
- Gum Disease
- Eye Strain
- Gastrointestinal Problems
- Alzheimer’s Disease
It is important to be aware of the symptoms of stress. Here are some of the common warning signs and symptoms that you should look out for:
- Nausea and dizziness
- Frequent colds and flu
- Rapid heart rate and chest pains
- Low sex drive
- Body aches
- Mood swings and irritability
- Constant feeling of loneliness
- Eating disorder
- Lack of sleep or sleeping too much
- Inability to concentrate
- Develop memory problems
- Poor judgment
- Worrying too much
What Causes Stress?
Any type of conditions that places a high demand on you both physically and mentally can be a source of stress. These conditions and situations don’t have to be negative to cause stress. Certain positive situations such as receiving a promotion, moving to a new house, or getting married can also cause stress. Stress can also be caused by internal factors such as being pessimistic or worrying too much.
Sometimes, the cause of stress depends on the perception of the person. Some situations may be too stressful for you but it may not have any effect on the other person. In our society today, stress can be dictated by financial problems, relationships, life events or major changes, school or work, family, and children.
20 Effects of Stress On the Human Body
- The hypothalamus in the brain sends a signal to the adrenal glands to release cortisol and adrenaline.
- Stress triggers your Fight or Flight response. This behavior is your brain’s natural reaction when it perceives danger or threat.
- Chronic stress can trigger headaches and migraine.
- Chronic stress interferes with sleeping habits and may lead to insomnia or inability to sleep. Read More – Insomnia: Foods That Will Help You Sleep At Night
- Stress can have an effect on your emotion and cause depression or unhappiness.
- Stress causes rapid breathing, which may be a problem for people with existing respiratory problems.
- Stress makes your heart beat faster in order to pump more blood into the vital organs.
- Stress can cause high blood pressure.
- Chronic stress makes your heart work harder and it raises the risk of having a heart attack.
- When the body is under stress, the liver produces more blood sugar or glucose to give you an energy boost.
- Too much glucose in the bloodstream caused by stress puts the body at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
- Stress disrupts the digestive system and cause heartburn or acid reflux.
- Stress can cause stomach ache, diarrhea and constipation.
- Stress causes muscle tension that can lead to back pains, shoulder pains and other body pains. Read More – Yoga Poses For Back Pain
- Stress causes low sex drive.
- Constant stress affects the menstrual cycle of women.
- Stress causes low testosterone levels and it can lead to impotence or erectile dysfunction.
- Stress causes infertility in both men and women.
- Stress activates the immune system response. However, frequent stress can have a negative impact on the immune system.
- Chronic stress weakens the immune system and makes your body more susceptible to infection and disease.
Easy Ways To Relieve Stress
Increasing your activity level and having a daily exercise routine can help in reducing stress. Exercise lifts your mood and distracts your mind from negative thoughts that can lead to stress. Working out can also keep you fit and helps you to feel better about yourself. Read More – Workout Plans: Fat Burning Workout in 15 minutes
Control Stress by Relaxation
Stress may be a constant part of your life but you can still control how it affects you. Try to learn meditation and other relaxation techniques to counter your body’s stress response. You can do deep breathing exercises and yoga to keep you calm even under pressure. Read More – Yoga Poses For Anxiety And Stress
Build Strong Connections with People
Building stronger connections with families, friends and people that have a positive impact in your life can fight the negative effects of stress. Simply talking to another person can trigger positive hormones that relieve stress. Read More – How to Improve Concentration
The good nutrients you get from eating healthy foods can help in lifting your mood and fight the symptoms of stress. If you keep eating unhealthy, processed foods, your body is not equipped to cope with the demands and pressures of daily living, which can eventually cause stress. Read More – Clean Eating Meal Plan: The Healthy Grocery List That Will Change Your Life
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