Three inevitable certainties in life are taxes, death, and stress. Since this is not a perfect world, we all have been victims of anxiety at some point in life.
Stress can be felt everywhere —school, work, or in a relationship. If you want to have stress under control, then the starting point is to know the symptoms and acknowledge that you have it.
But it's not as easy to recognize the symptoms of stress. Most of us are always stressed, but we don't know that we are stressed until it gets to a boiling point. Little stress is not harmful (it can keep you alert and motivated), but too much stress can have negative effects on your body.
Sometimes recognizing these effects can make you realize that you do have stress. So, this article will outline the effects of stress on your body and if you can relate to any of these problems you need professional help —do not hesitate to ring us by filling the page at the bottom of this page.
But before we delve into the effects of stress, let’s begin by defining stress.
What is stress?
Stress can be defined as the body’s reaction to unfavorable or harmful moments. These moments can be real or perceived. Whenever you are in a hazardous situation, there is a chemical reaction that occurs in your body that allows you to act in a certain way that prevents injury. This reaction can be referred to as a fight-or-flight, or rather the stress response. When one is in such a situation, the heart begins to beat at a fast pace, breathing also quickens, muscles tighten, and the blood pressure goes beyond normal. Your body will be preparing itself to act.
Well, with that said, here are some of the health problems that are associated with stress:
Asthma— Various studies have concluded that asthma can be worsened by stress. Even if it is a parent who is stressed, the effects can increase the risk of asthma developing in their kids. One study compared asthma rates in children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy and children whose parents had stress. The results of the study showed that parental stress had a higher impact on developing asthma in kids.
Headaches — Stress is responsible for causing many intense headaches as well as deadly headaches such as migraines.
Obesity — most people think that stress can only cause one to shed some weight, but in some instances, stress can cause one to be grossly overweight. Stressed people can have excess fat deposits in their abdomen, and that is a great health risk.
Depression and Anxiety — This probably doesn’t come as a surprise that chronic or acute stress can trigger higher rates of depression and anxiety in susceptible people. When the body fails to respond in an expected way after a difficult situation has passed, depression is bound to follow.
Diabetes — there are two ways in which stress can cause diabetes. First, it can increase the bad behaviors of eating junk food or unhealthy food. Second, if one already has type 2 diabetes, sustained or chronic stress can increase their glucose levels.
Premature Death — Having too much stress can shorten one’s life expectancy. According to a research study (reported by BBC News) conducted by the University of Edinburgh and University College of London, it takes a small amount of stress and anxiety to cause death in adults.
Gastrointestinal problem — There is a general misconception around stress and ulcers. People often think that stress can make one develop the problem of ulcers. But that’s further from the truth. Stress can only worsen ulcers not cause them.
Heart disease — research on this subject is still ongoing, but it’s true that stress can cause high blood pressure and heart problems in adults. One of the available explanations is that when stress increases the heart rate and blood flow, cholesterol and triglycerides are released into the bloodstream. The other reasonable explanation is that stress can increase obesity that can indirectly trigger heart problems. There are quite a number of cardiac problems that have been caused by acute stress and the best way to avoid being on the list. It's wise to try and manage life events stress as much as you can.
Fast aging — this might sound far-fetched, but stress can affect the way you age. To be more precise, it can accelerate the rate at which you are aging. According to Psychology Today Magazine, “chronic stress accelerates premature aging by shortening DNA telomeres.”
In a nutshell, stress tends to be more harmful to the body when people consume alcohol, drugs, or smoke as a way of trying to relieve stress. As they will be using these substances to try and relax their body, they will actually be doing more harm than good.
This content is edited by Flymedi Medical Editors in September 2019.