Sunday, March 26, 2023

What All Can Stress Do To Your Body

More Prone To Illnesses

How stress affects your body – Sharon Horesh Bergquist

The body is so intent on reacting to stress it can leave your immune system prone to illness. In other words, it can get too depleted and struggle to defend against viral or bacterial infections. The cortisol produced during stress reactions can decrease your lymphocytes, important white blood cells your immune system uses to fend off foreign invaders.

Ways To Manage Stress

The easiest way to manage stress is to immerse yourself in activities that reduce anxiety-provoking thoughts and feelings.

For starters, incorporate regular exercise into your weekly routine. This can be as simple as taking a stroll around your neighborhood. Disconnecting from the world and your smartphone can do wonders for your state of mind.

Yoga or meditation are also an ideal way to both relax and work up a sweat. Yoga teaches you to control your breathing, which in turn can help you power through stressful situations when they arise.

Focus on activities and hobbies you enjoy. Read a book at night if youre into novels. Listen to your favorite artist while you cook if youre a fan of music. Play with your dog if animals help soothe your mood. Everyone has their own way of resetting their emotions. Find what works best for you.

You can also add positive affirmations, or positive self-talk, to your routine. Take a piece of paper and write down personal statements you can think about or say aloud several times a day. As an example, you may say Today will be a good day. I will focus on the things I can control and wont stress about the things I cant control.

Rising Blood Pressure & Blood Sugar

Your heartbeat and blood pressure increase in response to stress. This change helped prehistoric humans survive by helping them run away faster or fight harder.

Short-term increases in blood pressure are expected in response to stress. Chronic responses to stress are thought to contribute to hypertension. This increases the chances of kidney failure, stroke, and heart attack or even heart failure.

Constant stress produces high levels of adrenaline, which can raise your blood pressure and your blood sugar. High blood pressure and blood sugar can weaken the heart and many other organs. This can also explain why you might have sugar cravings.

Excessive caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco can increase your adrenaline.

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Stress Makes Us Dumber

It is supported scientifically stress can actually drop your IQ! Researchers at a university in India studied cognitive functions during periods of prolonged stress and discovered that it affects the brain in a negative way. When were stressed out, several areas of the brain are struck: the amygdala, the hippocampus responsible for memory, and prefrontal cortex, responsible for high-level thinking. Prefrontal cortex is a part of the brain where most of the cognitive processes occur.

When were under stress, these three areas become vulnerable. Psychological stress causes adrenal glands endocrine glands above the kidneys to release catecholamines, compounds responsible for suppressing prefrontal cortex. To put it simply, they suppress our ability to genuinely think in stressful situations. The stressful memory is later stored in the hippocampus, and the next time we find ourselves in a similar stressful situation, it becomes a combination of avoidance, fear and non-thinking.

Q: What About Energy Levels

Stress and its effect on body systems

Dr. Sinha: Chronic stress can also 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, leaving them depleted. The result: fatigue.

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The 4 Stress Hormones

10 November, 2020

The most important stress hormones are cortisol, glucagon and prolactin. However, its cortisol that has the greatest impact on the physical and mental of our mind and body.

On the other hand, states of stress also affectsexual hormones, such as estrogens, progesterone and testosterone. Keep reading to discover how these hormones affect our health.

Not All Stress Is Bad

In a dangerous situation, stress signals the body to prepare to face a threat or flee to safety. In these situations, your pulse quickens, you breathe faster, your muscles tense, and your brain uses more oxygen and increases activityall functions aimed at survival and in response to stress. In non-life-threatening situations, stress can motivate people, such as when they need to take a test or interview for a new job.

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Respiratory And Cardiovascular Systems

Stress hormones affect your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. During the stress response, you breathe faster in an effort to quickly distribute oxygen-rich blood to your body. If you already have a breathing problem like asthma or emphysema, stress can make it even harder to breathe.

Under stress, your heart also pumps faster. Stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict and divert more oxygen to your muscles so youll have more strength to take action. But this also raises your blood pressure.

As a result, frequent or chronic stress will make your heart work too hard for too long. When your blood pressure rises, so do your risks for having a stroke or heart attack.

Increased Sensitivity To Pain

What Does Stress Do To Your Body?

Its well known that stress can cause physical tension, which can lead to painful headaches and neck and back pain. But stress can also affect how people experience pain, often causing an exaggerated response to an otherwise minor stimulus.

One study in children with recurring abdominal pain showed that stress reduced their tolerance for that pain, and in people with chronic pain, pain levels spike during periods of stress. Scientists think this heightened pain response might occur because stress can make the hormones that help people cope with painless effective.

Chen gives the example of a transgender patient who experienced debilitating back pain from a work injury, which resolved only after she shared her gender identity with her family.

This patient had the most profound back pain Id ever seen, and it lasted for years, with such an exaggerated pain response, Chen says. She had been hiding her transgender identity and had not been able to process that, and it was only after going through the transition that her pain completely resolved.

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And It’s Not Great For Your Heart

During acute episodes of stress, the body is flooded with adrenaline, which increases heart rate and blood pressure. In cases of extreme stress, you can even experience a condition known as “broken heart syndrome” it feels exactly like a heart attack.

Kahn told Insider that long-term stress can negatively affect your heart health, too, though the reason why isn’t totally clear. We don’t know whether stress itself raises the risk for problems like heart disease, or whether stress simply leads to non-heart-healthy habits, like smoking.

Experts still can’t say for sure if stress independently affects your heart health, or if the ways you cope with stress, whether that’s through a poor diet or a cigarette, can cause a heart condition. But both the American Heart Association and the US National Library of Medicine both agree that managing stress is a good thing for your heart.

Should I Get A Stress Test

A stress test doesnt measure the stress in your life, but it does measure the stress on your heart, or rather how hard your heart is working and what it looks like when youre walking very fast on a steep incline on a treadmill. People usually get a stress test when they have multiple risk factors for heart disease, or if theyve been having certain symptoms like chest pain or palpitations, says Haythe.

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Hair Loss And Prematurely Graying Hair

Yufang Lin, MD, an integrative medicine physician at Cleveland Clinic, says stress can cause a temporary condition called telogen effluvium, which stops hair follicles from growing. This can lead hair strands to fall out more easily over time, often when someone is washing or brushing their hair. Usually, the hair will start growing back once the stressful period ends, Lin says.

Chronic stress can also cause people to lose pigment in their hair, resulting in premature graying, according to Chen. You see this often with our elected officials over time you can see that the level of work and constantly being on has an effect on people, he says.

Scientists recently uncovered a potential mechanism explaining why stress induces premature graying. Researchers found that the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the fight-or-flight response, can affect the stem cells responsible for hair pigment. Sympathetic nerves that extend into the hair follicles release stress hormones, causing pigment-related stem cells to leave the hair follicle. Without those cells, no new pigment cells can be made so all new hair becomes gray.

Surprising Ways Stress Can Affect Your Body

How Stress Affects the Body

Everyone experiences stress, but not everyone experiences it in the same way. While stress may be best known for taking a toll on the mind, sometimes physical symptoms are your bodys way of telling you that your brain is under too much stress.

Patients come in with real physical symptoms, but they arent caused by any illness, says Loretta Howitt, MD, a psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanentes Los Angeles Medical Center. Stress is the underlying problem that needs to be addressed.

Whether you have physical symptoms, mental and emotional symptoms, or both, finding healthy ways to manage stress can help you find relief.

Common physical signs of stress

Even if you dont feel frazzled, your body could be sending you subtle signs that its time to address your stress. When in doubt, talk to your doctor to rule out any physical health issues. But if these symptoms sound familiar, its possible that stress is to blame:

Dry mouth and trouble swallowing Stress can slow down the production of saliva, which can cause dry mouth and make it difficult or uncomfortable to swallow.

Hair loss Hair falls out naturally when the hair follicle moves from the growth cycle to the resting cycle. Stress can disrupt this pattern and cause more follicles to enter the resting cycle at once leading to increased, more noticeable hair loss.

Upset stomach Stress can cause gastrointestinal symptoms of all types, including abdominal pain, heartburn, nausea, diarrhea, and constipation.

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Flatulence Bloating And A Lot Of Peeing

Bergquist says the gut-brain communication that takes place during stress can sometimes lead to an imbalance of gut flora, which for some people leads to bloating or flatulence.

The intestines have their own nervous system called the enteric nervous system that connects to the brain. The intestines can spasm when a person feels stress, and with that can come diarrhea, constipation, or flatulence its different for every individual, Bergquist says.

The fight-or-flight phenomenon causes all the bodys systems to ramp up to help a person escape. Lin says some people experience the urge to pee more frequently when theyre in a chronic state of stress. During fear or anxiety, stress causes us to physically dump so we can move faster, she says.

Stress Could Trigger Depression

When it comes to depression and stress, “it’s sometimes tough to tease out which is the chicken and which is the egg,” said Geyer. “But there’s clearly a strong link.”

Some research says that stress can suppress the growth of new neurons in the hippocampus. That’s a part of the brain that’s shown to be smaller in some depressed people. Geyer also noted that in some people, chronic inflammation appears to play a role in the onset of depression. And chronic inflammation, can be caused by chronic stress.

“Stress, or being stressed out, leads to behaviors and patterns that in turn can lead to a chronic stress burden and increase the risk of major depression,” Bruce McEwen author of The End of Stress as We Know It, told WebMD.

The bottom line is that depression can be caused by a combination of factors. Still, the National Institute of Mental Health does list stress as a risk factor for the disease.

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Physical Aches & Pains

Stress causes tension throughout your body. It puts your body in a state of constant work, which is why it causes fatigue. And what happens if your muscles are overworked? They start to ache.

Not surprisingly, migraine sufferers commonly associate stress with their migraines. The pain doesnt always stop at the head, either. Some people carry stress on their shoulders, causing prolonged tension in their neck, shoulder and back muscles. This causes a variety of aches and pains that are common to those responding to long-term stressful circumstances.

Muscle spasms can be another symptom of stress.

Think about how your body feels the next day after youve had a long, intense workoutespecially if you havent exercised in a while. Youll typically find that your muscles are in pain and aching. And it might be hard to do everyday tasks, including walking down the stairs!

While stress isnt necessarily a workout, it can sure make your body feel just as exhausted and sore. Muscle aches and chronic pain are very common consequences of stress. Thats one reason why people who are overly-stressed often get massages to ease the tension in their muscles.

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The stress doesnt have to be major to do it: Frederick Chen, MD, chief of family medicine at Harborview Medical Center and professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, says even small stressors aggravating emails, subtweets have an effect.

The small stresses of everyday life can cause daily, low-level stress that activates stress hormones in the body, which ultimately affects how people feel, he says. The interesting thing is that we dont always know why people respond in the way they do.

Often, a long-term build-up of these minor stresses when the body doesnt go back to normal causes people to experience weird symptoms. Acute stress tends not to have an effect on health, says Sharon Bergquist, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. Its the activation of chronic stress when people dont go back to their baseline of rest and recovery, that tends to affect people.

Here are some of the most unusual things stress can cause in the body:

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How Stress Affects Your Body From Your Brain To Your Digestive System

Its one thing to feel occasional stress. But when youre constantly under pressure and have no way to cope, your risk of developing serious illness climbs. Heres what you need to know about the long-term effects of living a stressed-out life.

If youve ever felt stressed out , you already know that being under pressure can affect your body, either by causing a headache, muscle tightness, or flutters in your chest making you feel down in the dumps or leaving you ravenous for chocolate or robbed of all appetite.

But these stress symptoms are merely the signals of the deeper impact that chronic stress can have on every organ and system in your body, from your nervous and circulatory systems to your digestive and immune systems.

Understanding How Stress Affects The Brain

Professionals working in health and human services or psychology have the opportunity to help others manage their stress effectively and understand how stress affects the brain. Touro University Worldwide offers a variety of fully online degree programs at the bachelors, masters and doctoral level that prepare students for careers in these fields.

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The Effects Of Anxiety On The Body

Anxiety is a normal part of life. For example, you may have felt anxiety before addressing a group or in a job interview.

In the short term, anxiety increases your breathing and heart rate, concentrating blood flow to your brain, where you need it. This very physical response is preparing you to face an intense situation.

If it gets too intense, however, you might start to feel lightheaded and nauseous. An excessive or persistent state of anxiety can have a devastating effect on your physical and mental health.

Anxiety disorders can happen at any stage of life, but they usually begin by middle age. Women are more likely to have an anxiety disorder than men, says the National Institute of Mental Health .

Stressful life experiences may increase your risk for an anxiety disorder, too. Symptoms may begin immediately or years later. Having a serious medical condition or a substance use disorder can also lead to an anxiety disorder.

There are several types of anxiety disorders. They include:

How Does Stress Affect Your Body A Lot More Than You Realize:

How Stress Affects the Body

1. Little energy

You might, first of all, find yourself too tired to do anything. Feeling overwhelmed over an extended time may deal blows to your motivation.

2. Headaches

Stress might also cause tension headaches. You may suffer from it if you experience prolonged pressure. These headaches are either episodic or chronic.

3. Poor digestion

Furthermore, stress might cause you to skip meals. Yes, this is one effect of stress on your body. Doing this may upset your stomach and trigger bouts of nausea. Diarrhea is typical as well. This research points out that it causes digestive problems in rats.

4. Aches, pains, and tense muscles

Among the things stress does to your body is making you physically and mentally strung up. You will have painful, aching muscles. According to the American Psychological Association, stress causes muscles to tense up. If this happens for a prolonged time, they may cause stress-related disorders.

5. Chest pain and rapid heartbeat

A palpitating heartbeat is another symptom of stress. Excess pressure from work or home may cause what experts call Chest Pain Anxiety. Having excess worries can trigger physiological and psychological changes, what experts call the flight or fight response.

Over stimulating the stress hormone, cortisol, may cause chest pains. Indigestion may activate it as well. This study explored how panic attacks can trigger chest pains that resemble heart attacks.

6. Insomnia

7. Colds and infections

8. Loss of Libido

9. Tinnitus

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