Saturday, September 16, 2023

How Bad Can Stress Affect Your Body

It Limits The Flow Of Blood To The Heart

How stress affects your body – Sharon Horesh Bergquist

Your heart is responsible for pumping oxygenated blood to all other parts of your body, making it arguably one of the most important organs that you have. And if you want to protect that precious organ at all costs, then you’ll want to stop stressing out about life’s little things. According to one study published in the journal Circulation, chronic life stress can cause myocardial ischemia, in which blood flow to the heart is reduced as a result of blocked arteries and your chances of having a heart attack are significantly increased.

Finding Your Path To A Less Stressed Life

Sadly, theres no magic stress solution that works for everyone. You might have to explore several different stress management tools and techniques before you find what works best for you. Dr. Howitt suggests taking it one small, manageable step at a time. “Set achievable goals, she explains. “Small changes can make a meaningful difference in how you experience stress both mentally and physically.”

Practicing self-care is always a good idea, but some people need more support. If something still doesnt feel right or you have questions about how to manage stress in positive ways talk to your doctor.

1 Kathrin Wunsch et al., Habitual and Acute Exercise Effects on Salivary Biomarkers in Response to Psychosocial Stress, Psychoneuroendocrinology, August 2019.

2 MaryCarol R. Hunter et al., Urban Nature Experiences Reduce Stress in the Context of Daily Life Based on Salivary Biomarkers, Frontiers in Psychology, April 4, 2019.

3 Madhav Goyal et al., Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-Being: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, JAMA Internal Medicine, March 2014.

4 Brian Chin et al., Psychological Mechanisms Driving Stress Resilience in Mindfulness Training: A Randomized Controlled Trial, Health Psychology, August 2019.

5 Getting Creative Really Does Boost Your Mood, Survey Suggests, BBC News, May 8, 2019.

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How Does Stress Affect Health

The human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. Stress can be positive — such as a getting a job promotion or being given greater responsibilities — keeping us alert and ready to avoid danger. Stress becomes negative when a person faces continuous challenges without relief or relaxation between challenges. As a result, the person becomes overworked and stress-related tension builds.

Distress can lead to physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping. Research suggests that stress also can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases.

Stress also becomes harmful when people use alcohol, tobacco, or drugs to try to relieve their stress. Unfortunately, instead of relieving the stress and returning the body to a relaxed state, these substances tend to keep the body in a stressed state and cause more problems. Consider the following:

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Q: Does Stress Make You Age Faster

Longstanding stress can cause you to age more quickly than normal. One study links chronic stress to faster aging in otherwise healthy people but on the bright side, the study also found that mood management and self-control against unhealthy behaviors can help.

Bottom line? Keep an eye on how stressed you are and what you can do about it. Your body will thank you.

It Hurts Heart Health

How Stress Affects Our Body

Stress can put a lot of pressure on the heart when youre stressed, your heart pumps harder to distribute blood to make sure youre prepared to deal with threats, and that can cause long-term damage over time. Stress can cause high blood pressure and heartbeat irregularities, Dr. Ross tells Bustle. Being stressed is a risk factor for poorer heart health overall, with stressed people more likely to show symptoms of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and other heart issues over the course of their lifetimes. A study published in Circulation in 2019 also found that race plays a role in the relationship between stress and heart health in women over the course of their lives.

Recommended Reading: Can Stress Cause Heart Failure

It Raises Your Body Temperature

For some peopleyoung women especiallyhighly stressful situations can actually cause a spike in body temperature known as a psychogenic fever. And oddly enough, research published in the journal Temperature found that these fevers are remedied not with run-of-the-mill anti-fever medications, but with anti-anxiety medications and therapy. And for things you should avoid doing if you already have a high temperature, check out These Are the Worst Things You Can Do if You Have a Fever.

It Disrupts Your Digestion

You can stock up on fruits and veggies all you want, but so long as stress is part of your everyday life, your digestive system is going to be just as unhealthy as if you were digging into cheeseburgers and milkshakes every day. As one study published in Scientific Reports found, feeling overwhelmed and anxious can have a detrimental affect on your gut microbiota, the microorganisms that play a role in both digestion and metabolic health.

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Stress Messes With Your Sex Hormones

Stress increases the amount of something called sex hormone binding globulin, the school bus that ferries testosterone and estrogen around your body, meaning fewer of these hormones are available to your cells. Chronic stress also increases the production of cortisol, leading to something called cortisol steal, where fewer sex hormones are produced.

Techniques For Handling Stress In The Moment

How stress affects your brain – Madhumita Murgia
  • Recognize your stress signals. Does your neck stiffen? Do your palms start sweating?
  • Try talking to yourself in a calm and logical way to inject some more positivity into the situation. Say things like I can handle this or Im going to calm down before I react.
  • Take a few deep breaths. Observe your breathing and dont let it become shallow and quick. This will help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for a more chilled mode of existence.
  • If you can, talk to someone. Talking about things is a great stress relief.
  • Stress is contagious. Dont project stress onto others and dont take on other peoples stress. There is only as much as one person can handle. When in a conversation, talk in a gentle and calm manner, which will affect both you and the person youre engaging with.
  • Read Also: What To Do When Your Stressed About School

    Effects Of Stress On The Body

    Its normal to feel stressed sometimes, but if you always feel under-the-pump it can have a really negative impact on your mind and body. This is because stress is supposed to be a short-term response to danger and not a constant state of being. If you know the signs that youre experiencing stress, youll be better placed to keep it under control.

    Harmful Effects Of Stress On The Mind And Body

    In this article:

    Stress oftentimes gets a bad rap and is usually viewed as something to be avoided. In fact, an appropriate and balanced amount of stress can benefit ones performance by increasing motivation, focus, and attention.

    However, if left unattended, stress could also become overwhelming, resulting in counterproductivity and even detrimental effects on ones overall physical and mental health.

    The good news is that there are several practical and simple ways to identify and address the symptoms of stress, which could help lift the burdens of daily living and facilitate a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.

    Lets take a look at how stress works, the harmful effects of stress that may interfere with your physical and mental health, and ways to combat them.

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    Stress Can Exacerbate Skin Problems Including Acne

    It’s no surprise that stress can negatively affect the largest organ in your body your skin. Researchers have identified a number of conditions aren’t necessarily caused by stress but can be made worse by it. That list includes acne, psoriasis, rosacea, alopecia, and eczema, too.

    “It is very common for people to experience breakouts when stressed,” dermatologist Marisa Garshick previously told Insider. “Your body releases stress hormones including cortisol, which may increase the skin’s oil production, making you prone to breakouts.”

    Increasec cortisol can also break down collagen and decrease synthesis of hyaluronic acid, Garshick said, adding that this loss of collagen and hyaluronic acid “can lead to fine lines and wrinkles over time,” and even premature aging.

    When you’re stressed, research finds it can take your skin longer than usual to heal up wounds.

    It Makes It Harder To Conceive

    The Effects of Stress on Your Body

    Going through the process of trying to have a baby is naturally anxiety-inducing, but dwelling on the stress of the matter is only going to make it harder for you to conceive. That’s according to one study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, which found that women with higher levels of stress are 13 percent less likely to conceive than those who don’t worry as much.

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    Q: What About Energy Levels

    Chronic stress can make you tired. Your adrenal glands act like battery packs they provide energy-producing substances such as adrenaline on demand, a key part of the stress response. Unfortunately, many people overuse these limited battery reserves with endless work and personal demands. The result: fatigue.

    Causes & Risk Factors

    Stress often results if a person feels that there are high pressures or demands, that there is a threat to their well-being or that they don’t have enough resources to cope with the demands.

    Common sources of stress include a person’s physical environment , relationships, work, life situations and major life changes. These situations can include negative events such as financial problems, relationship breakup, difficulties at work or school, injury, illness or death and grieving. However, situations leading to stress can also include positive changes, such as work promotions, getting married or buying a house.

    Because stress is a normal part of life, everyone experiences it. However, the intensity, frequency and duration of stress will be different for each person. Numerous factors can make the experience of stress worse, such as when people:

    • have limited social support
    • have difficulty regulating or balancing their emotions
    • have difficulty tolerating uncertainty or distress
    • lack self-confidence or do not feel they can cope with the stressor
    • interpret the stressor negatively, so that they feel powerless, overwhelmed or helpless.

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    Central Nervous And Endocrine Systems

    Your central nervous system is in charge of your fight or flight response. In your brain, the hypothalamus gets the ball rolling, telling your adrenal glands to release the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones rev up your heartbeat and send blood rushing to the areas that need it most in an emergency, such as your muscles, heart, and other important organs.

    When the perceived fear is gone, the hypothalamus should tell all systems to go back to normal. If the CNS fails to return to normal, or if the stressor doesnt go away, the response will continue.

    Chronic stress is also a factor in behaviors such as overeating or not eating enough, alcohol or drug abuse, and social withdrawal.

    Do Women React To Stress Differently Than Men Do

    What stress does to your body (it isnt always bad!)

    Yes, studies show that women are more likely than men to experience symptoms of stress. Women who are stressed are more likely than men who are stressed to experience depression and anxiety.21 Experts do not fully know the reason for the differences, but it may be related to how mens and womens bodies process stress hormones. Long-term stress especially is more likely to cause problems with moods and anxiety in women.22

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    When To See A Doctor

    While natural treatments can help with anxiety symptoms, some signs may indicate that you need to call your doctor:

    • Your anxiety is chronic , and it interferes with your ability to function daily
    • Your symptoms have persisted for six months or more
    • Youâre experiencing physical symptoms such as rapid heart rate, difficulty sleeping, stomach issues, or chronic fatigue
    • Youâre avoiding people or places
    • Youâre having thoughts of self-harm or suicide

    Your doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety medications or refer you to a specialist. In some cases, the natural remedies described above may be used along with more conventional treatments to help you manage your symptoms.

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    Stress In Different People

    Two people can have different perceptions of the same situation and react accordingly. Giving public speeches can be fun and stimulating for one person, yet extremely frightening for another.

    For most people, when were under stress, our brains dont give their best performance. Hence, you can hear and see people say and do all sorts of irrational and stupid things when they suffer from stress. A tiny part of the brain actually gets inhibited, resulting in some unexplainable actions.

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    How Does Stress Affect Your Body

    1. Mental Health

    Stress and mental health problems can go hand-in-hand. When stressed, it can reduce your enthusiasm for activities that you normally enjoy. This can increase your symptoms of stress which result in a struggle to complete everyday tasks like chores, eating healthy and staying active. Long-term stress also raises the risk of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression1. Reach out to a friend, family member or even a medical professional for help with managing stress. Working together, you can help reduce your worries and find your way to a healthier lifestyle.

    2. Sleep Insomnia

    Do you ever feel like getting a good nights rest when youre stressed is nearly impossible? When youre feeling stressed, your body has a hard time relaxing because it is releasing extra adrenaline and cortisol hormones, causing your heart rate to increase. This helps circulate blood to your muscles and organs quickly and efficiently. Your body does this to stay on high alert, which can cause sleep insomnia. While our bodies are often in an elevated state of alertness, it can cause us to have rapid, anxious thoughts at night which also make it difficult to rest. Insufficient sleep can then cause even more stress due to extreme exhaustion. According to the National Sleep Foundation2, a survey found that 43 percent of people aged 13 to 64 reported that they have a difficult time sleeping at night due to stress at least once a month.

    3. Respiratory and Cardiovascular System

    How Does Stress Affect Your Body The Latest Research Shows It Can Vary

    Body Signals: Stress

    Stress is a hell of a state of mind. Not only can it make you feel frantic, overwhelmed and on the verge of tears, but new science also shows that it can wreak some serious havoc on the body. Stress can affect your body in many different areas, some of which might not be immediately obvious.

    It is well known that stress and stressors directly affect our health, whether we want to admit it or not, Dr. Sherry Ross M.D., a womens health expert at Providence Saint Johns Health Center, tells Bustle. From your heart to your brain and immune system, stress can mess with your body, in both short-term and more permanent ways.

    Stress may seem like a good motivator to power through your to-do list, but the stakes for reducing stress are high. Decades of research tell us that stressors and anxiety can impact our organs, our nervous system, our guts, and our brains. Carrying stress around can make you more vulnerable to illnesses and infections or make your immune system overreact and hurt your cells. Recent research has shown how it can hurt your gut, whiten your hair, and even shrink your brain.

    Heres what stress can do to your body be ready to grab a stress ball.

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    Are The Tests Accurate

    The results of your at-home cortisol test are processed in the same labs that a doctors office uses, so theyre generally accurate.

    However, the accuracy can depend on the type of test and collection method. If you receive your results and are unsure if theyre accurate, most test providers offer to review your results with you.

    Its also a good idea to talk with a doctor after taking the test if you need more insight or guidance for next steps.

    How Stress Can Affect Your Overall Health

    Psychreg on Health Psychology

    Stress is a normal part of life. The human body is designed to experience stress and react accordingly. However, it can have serious consequences if a person faces continuous challenges without relief or relaxation. As a result, the individual may feel overworked and develop stress-related tension. This unrelenting strain on the body may contribute to additional health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or certain mental disorders.

    According to BetterHelp, if you frequently feel frazzled and overwhelmed, there are strategies that can help you to bring your nervous system back into balance. Protect yourself by learning how to recognise the signs and symptoms of stress and take the necessary steps to manage it. Read on to learn how stress can affect your overall health.

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    Is All Stress Bad For Your Health

    Some forms of short-term stress can be a benefit. For example, maybe theres a project at work youve put off for weeks thats now coming due. The pressure you suddenly feel to deliver that project is actually stress. This type of stress is short-lived. It can give you increased stamina, focus, and an adrenaline high so you can deliver on time. Some people who work well under pressure, understand how to put this type of short-term stress to good use.

    Consider, the temporary and sudden stress of a near miss car accidentyour heart is pounding and your hands are shaking. The adrenaline rush allowed you to think and act in a split second. That instinctual fight or flight response helped you narrowly escape an otherwise bad situation.

    So not all stress is bad, but its important to understand the difference.

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