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We live in a busy, crowded, and sometimes scary world. We have jobs, children, and adulting that can pile on pressure every day. Some people are so chronically stressed that they can't even feel the warning signs their body puts out. If chronic stress goes unstopped for too long, your health might pay the price. Here are five ways that too much stress can affect your health.
How stress affects the health of your body
Stress is a natural part of life. It has evolved throughout our existence to ensure the survival of our species. The problem with stress occurs when a person is unable to calm down from a stressful event. It can also happen to people in high-stress jobs and environments. This chronic stress can cause the body's natural processes to stop, creating many different health concerns including high blood sugar. This can eventually lead to diabetes. Some major problem includes:
Immune System - People with chronic stress are more likely to catch viral and bacterial infections. This is due in part to the body's immune system shutting down to conserve energy, needed to get out of the perceived danger.
Digestive System - One of the more common symptoms of the stress response involves stomach upset. Most people report having diarrhea or constipation during stressful events.
Reproductive System - When our bodies go into the flight or fight response, it does not need to reproduce. To conserve energy, the reproduction system shuts off. Women may experience a change in their monthly cycles. Men may have a reduced sperm count. Stress can also affect sex drive, pregnancy, and conception.
Cardiovascular System - When stress rises, so too does a person's blood pressure. When the stressor has been eliminated, blood pressure should stabilize. Chronic stress, however, may result in a dangerous condition called hypertension.
Skin, Hair, and Nails - Psoriasis, acne, and hair loss are all common side effects of too much stress. During these times, hormones such as androgens increase causing breakouts to occur. Some people also chew or pick at their nails, making them brittle.
Here are some other common symptoms of chronic stress:
How stress can affect your mood
Over time, if left untreated, stress can start changing your mood. Many people report feeling like they're going to explode, while others may want to cry. These are some of the symptoms that can cause changes in mood:
How stress can change your behavior
Changes in behavior can also occur when a person is under too much pressure for long periods. Substance misuse and overeating are the most common. This is often the reason first-year students in college tend to gain weight (AKA, the freshman fifteen). Here are some signs to look for:
How you can manage your stress
Taking steps to manage stress can not only improve your health, but it can also give you a sense of power. Feeling stressed out can become overwhelming. Here are some activities that can help better manage or prevent chronic stress:
If you feel like stress is causing problems in your life, or if you are looking for more ways to better manage your health contact us today.