Tuesday, January 31, 2023

What Are The Long Term Effects Of Stress

The Initial Causes Long Term Effects Plantar Fasciitis

The Long-term Effects of Stress

Pain associated with plantar fasciitis occurs because of abnormal foot function due to abnormal gait, abnormal mechanics of the foot, or excess pressure on the arches of the foot. Excessive pressure forces the foot to compress the fascia or connective tissue under the arch, causing pain and inflammation. The usual way to treat this condition is with custom orthotic inserts that are shaped to fit the arches of the foot and are often cushioned in order to relieve pressure and inflammation. Unfortunately, shoe insole does not cure or treat arches. Instead, they only relieve foot pressure and may correct foot biomechanics.

An alternative to using custom orthotic inserts to treat plantar fasciitis is with custom shoe-insole cushion. This type of insert provides arches with cushioning and relieving pressure by creating a semi-cushioned layer between the heel cups of the shoe. Custom shoe-insole cushions are generally made of soft leather, gel, foam or plastic, and are designed specifically for each individual foot.

Higher Risk Of Hypertension And Heart Problems

When youre constantly experiencing stress, you might start to notice chest pain or heart palpitations.9 Chronic stress can impact your blood vessels and heart adversely, elevating your risk of developing hypertension or high blood pressure, having a stroke, or even a heart attack. Such chronic stress may also worsen inflammation in your coronary arteries and cause your cholesterol levels to go awry.

Women are offered some degree of protection when theyre pre-menopausal due to higher estrogen levels which allow blood vessels and the body to cope better with stress. However, after menopause, women can become more susceptible to stress-linked heart disease than before.10

Sexuality And Reproductive System

Long-term stress can have lasting effects on male and female reproductive systems. Stress can also impact a persons sex drive. Stress can mentally and physically wear you out, and you may find yourself avoiding sexual activity.

Women may experience changes both before and during their menstrual cycles. Premenstrual syndrome symptoms may worsen, and periods themselves can become heavier, more painful, or irregular.

Those going through menopause may also notice heightened symptoms when stressed due to increased hormone levels.

Research also shows that stress may also make it difficult to become pregnant or can complicate an existing pregnancy.

In men, chronic stress can cause testosterone levels to drop, impact sperm production, or even lead to issues such as:

  • impotence

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Cardiovascular Function And Water

Our body is mostly made of water the range is between 55% in women to 65% water in men. Our blood is fluid because of this water content. The amount of water present contributes to what is known as blood volume.

Blood volume is directly related to blood pressure. Higher blood volume means higher blood pressure. A lot of water makes the heart work harder. This is why certain blood pressure medications are designed to reduce the amount of water in the system. Less water means lower blood pressure.

A big problem in todays world is that we often do not use up the energy we consume. When we were mammoth hunters, we ran like crazy and used up the energy. But today, the stress response system secretes stress hormones when we are stuck in traffic or sitting at our desk at work. Why do we speak about mammoth hunters?

If everyday levels of stress hormones are high then the delicate salt/water balance that keeps our heart working normally can be disrupted. In the long-run, this can lead to cardiovascular disease.

Coping With Chronic Stress

Effects of stress on the body

Ideally, you should look at ways of planning or organizing your life so that you experience less stress on a daily basis. If, however, your stress triggers are beyond your control, there are some ways to reduce the fallout on your body.

  • Get some physical exercise: It can ease stress and help you manage it better. The feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins increase when you undertake physical activity and can ease anxiety and depression and improve your mood.24
  • Eat healthy: Inflammatory foods can worsen stress and depression.25 So skip the caffeine, sugar, fatty foods, processed foods, sodas, and salty foods which can stress you out. Instead, opt for more fresh produce and home-cooked meals.
  • Sleep well: Getting a good nights rest is crucial to support your bodys normal stress response and keep levels of stress hormone cortisol in check.
  • Build a strong support system of friends and family: Reach out to a counselor or psychologist when you feel stressed.26
  • Use relaxation techniques: From yoga or tai chi to meditation, deep breathing, chanting, and prayer can help ou cope with stress.27 Even taking time out to read, listen to music, paint, or do something you love can help.


Also Check: Why Am I Feeling Stressed

Here To Help You Feel Your Best

As I sit and reflect on the impact of COVID-19, I realize that this pandemic has been the great equalizer. Like many, I heard the governor give the grim news that fateful Friday, March 13, while picking up my daughter from outdoor science school. I truly believed that the stay-at-home orders would last no more than two weeks. Then, we would all be back to our normal, hectic lives, and it would all be a nice vacation.

Now, as our country and global communities struggle to slow the spread of the virus and its many variants, we’re shifting our focus to not only battling this deadly pandemic, but managing its long-term effects on its survivors. That includes recognizing and dealing with the impact on our physical, mental and emotional health from living through the seemingly endless ups and downs.

Identify What The Long

Once you’ve identified some of the biggest culprits for you, it’s time to make some decisions.

What needs to get cut from your life?

What changes do you need to make?

Are there any strategies set up to help you cope with the stress that isn’t so easy to wipe out of your life?

This often comes down to identifying your core values, and seeing if you’re living in alignment with them. My number one value is health because, without it, we have nothing.

Read: How to Find Your Personal Core Values

Read Also: How To Fight Stress And Anxiety Naturally

How Stress Affects Your Body

Another infographic from Healthline shows the effects of stress on your body.

Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to life experiences. Everyone expresses stress from time to time. Anything from everyday responsibilities like work and family to serious life events such as a new diagnosis, war, or the death of a loved one can trigger stress. For immediate, short-term situations, stress can be beneficial to your health. It can help you cope with potentially serious situations. Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones that increase your heart and breathing rates and ready your muscles to respond.

Yet if your stress response doesnt stop firing, and these stress levels stay elevated far longer than is necessary for survival, it can take a toll on your health. Chronic stress can cause a variety of symptoms and affect your overall well-being. Symptoms of chronic stress include:

  • irritability
  • insomnia

Each Person Reacts To Life Stressors Differently Than Others How Do You React


Director, Health Ministries

Long-term, or chronic, stress can affect us much differently than acute stress. We experience chronic stress when thesource of stress is constant, such as being in a challenging relationship, having a high-pressure job, and having financial difficulties. Chronic stress can also occur if our brain continues to perceive a situation as threatening and doesnt put the brakes on after the true danger is over.

Each person reacts to life stressors differently than others. Genetics may play a role in individuals having an underactive or overactive response to the same stressor. Life experiences may also play a significant role. People who were neglected or abused as children seem to be vulnerable to stress. Other life events that impact stress response include being a victim of violent crime and being a survivor of an airplane crash. Military personnel, police officers, and firefighters also may be more vulnerable to chronic stress in later years.

Long-term activation of the stress response system causes overexposure to cortisol, epinephrine, and other stress hormones. This overexposure can disrupt almost all of our bodys processes. We are then at risk of many health problems. Since all of us react to stress differently, the health problems are going to vary from person to person.

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Do Women React To Stress Differently Than Men Do

Yes, studies show that women are more likely than men to experience . Women who are stressed are more likely than men who are stressed to experience depression and anxiety. 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.

The Mind And Mental Health: How Stress Affects The Brain

Stress continues to be a major American health issue, according to the American Psychological Association. More than one-third of adults report that their stress increased over the past year. Twenty-four percent of adults report experiencing extreme stress, up from 18 percent the year before.

Its well-known that stress can be a detriment to overall health. But can stress actually change the physiology of the brain? Science says yes.

Also Check: How To Relieve Stress Stomach Pain

Central Nervous And Endocrine System

Stress can trigger your bodys fight, flight, or freeze response, which is controlled by your central nervous system .

When stress is perceived, your brain sends signals throughout your body. Youll likely experience an uptick in adrenaline and cortisol , as well as an increase in your heart rate. This reaction prepares you to face the challenge ahead.

Your CNS will likely go back to business as usual once the stress has passed. In cases of chronic stress, however, your body may remain in a defensive response.

This can contribute to behaviors like turning to drugs or alcohol for support, over or under-eating, or feeling anxious or depressed which can all, in turn, create additional stress.

Different Types Of Stress

How Stress Harm Your Health: Effects on Body and Behavior

Not all stress is the same. Acute stress is short-term while chronic stress is long-term. Examples of acute stress would be any stress you suffer from for a short period of time — like a car cutting you off on the freeway, an argument with your spouse, or a scary noise outside your home.But if you’re a bus driver and you get stuck in numerous traffic jams every day, you’re in a bad relationship and you argue with your spouse constantly, you work for a toxic boss or you live in a high-crime neighborhood where break-ins are relatively common, your stress may be chronic.

Your body is well designed to recover quickly from short-term stress. That’s how many mental health experts define resilience: How quickly you recover from an acute episode of stress. Your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate and levels of muscle tension may skyrocket for a short while. If you’re young healthy and in good shape, these markers of stress quickly return to their normal levels.Our bodies arent as good at handling chronic stress, however. Over time, chronic stress gradually increases your resting heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate and levels of muscle tension so the body has to work even harder when it’s at rest to keep you functioning normally.

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Insulin Resistance And Type Ii Diabetes

Insulin is a hormone that carries a message that lowers blood sugar levels and helps us to store energy for future use.

The receivers of messages in our body are called receptors. In type II diabetes, the message carried by insulin is not understood by the receptors and blood sugar levels remain high.

Normally, when cortisol levels rise, insulin secretion stops. After all, we need all the energy we can get! Sugar fuels our muscles and brain. So with lower levels of insulin, blood sugar levels can remain high enough to provide us with the energy we need. Our stress response system has a fail-safe just in case we still have insulin kicking around. Stress hormones make sure that our cells do not respond to any remaining insulin in our system.

If we are chronically stressed, then our insulin levels can remain low and our blood sugar levels can remain high. On top of that, our cells can become almost totally resistant to insulin.

Behavioral Interventions In Chronic Disease

Patients dealing with chronic, life-threatening diseases must often confront daily stressors that can threaten to undermine even the most resilient coping strategies and overwhelm the most abundant interpersonal resources. Psychosocial interventions, such as cognitive-behavioral stress management , have a positive effect on the quality of life of patients with chronic disease . Such interventions decrease perceived stress and negative mood , improve perceived social support, facilitate problem-focused coping, and change cognitive appraisals, as well as decrease SNS arousal and the release of cortisol from the adrenal cortex. Psychosocial interventions also appear to help chronic pain patients reduce their distress and perceived pain as well as increase their physical activity and ability to return to work . These psychosocial interventions can also decrease patients overuse of medications and utilization of the health care system. There is also some evidence that psychosocial interventions may have a favorable influence on disease progression .

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Prolonged Periods Of Stress May Cause Disease

Stress can significantly weaken the immune system, leaving the person much more susceptible to illness. In addition, some people use unhealthy behaviors like smoking or excessive drinking to cope with stress. These behaviors can lead to disease in the long run.

There is also a possible link between stress and obesity. Keep in mind that stress can make people overeat. The article below outlines this further.

Chronic stress is also associated with heart disease. As mentioned before, stress instantly causes a spike in heart rate and blood pressure. This is fine as long as the heart can quickly return to normal levels.

That doesnt happen in people suffering from chronic stress. The prolonged elevation of heart rate and blood pressure can damage the heart and ultimately cause heart disease.

The Consequences Of Constant Stress

Long Term Effects of Chronic Stress

If stress perseveres over a long period of time, it usually has mental, emotional and physical consequences. If we ignore the signals from our body and permanent stressful situations determine our everyday life, this can lead to significant health impairments.

Adverse effects on the course of existing diseases are also possible. Widespread attempts to cope with stress, such as smoking, alcohol and tablets, add to the negative health consequences.

Read Also: How To Make Someone Less Stressed

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    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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    Effects Of Chronic Stress On Brain Structure

    It has been shown that chronic stress is linked to macroscopic changes in certain brain areas, consisting of volume variations and physical modifications of neuronal networks. For example, several studies in animals have described stress-related effects in the prefrontal cortex and limbic system, characterized by volume reductions of some structures, and changes in neuronal plasticity due to dendritic atrophy and decreased spine density . These morphological alterations are similar to those found in the brains of depressed patients examined postmortem, suggesting that they could also be at the basis of the depressive disorders that are often associated with chronic stress in humans. This hypothesis is supported by imaging studies that evidenced structural changes in the brain of individuals suffering from various types of stress-related disorders, such as those linked to severe traumas, major negative life events or chronic psychosocial strain. In particular, Blix and colleagues observed atrophy of the basal ganglia and significantly reduced gray matter in certain areas of the PFC in subjects afflicted with long-term occupational stress . In general, the consequences of these alterations in a brain region can expand to other functionally connected areas, and potentially cause those cognitive, emotional and behavioral dysfunctions that are commonly associated with chronic stress, and that may increase vulnerability to psychiatric disorders.

    A New Time A New Approach To Your Health

    Mental Health Month â AR Alert Response

    I have to admit, I have changed the way I talk with my patients. We are all in the same boat, we are all facing the same stressors, the same pandemic. I have seen much more weight gain, critically elevated blood sugars, and blood pressures in many patients. At the same time, I am seeing many new patients who have not been to the doctor in years, who are finally ready to gain control of their health.

    When I speak with my patients, I find we have a lot in common. We realize we cannot control the outside forces, but we can control our response to the pandemic and our health. So, we look internally. We aim to make small but tangible changes in our lifestyles. These small changes can make incremental improvements in overall health.

    Now, we dont just talk about sugar or blood pressure. Instead, well talk about family, worries and long-term health goals. Together, well look beyond the pandemic and use this time as a springboard to a healthier lifestyle.

    I think its important to share how Ive coped with stress. I tell them I have found time to learn to knit, learn to cook, and make my mothers favorite recipes. I am reading and even picked up watercolor painting. I tell them I have three kids that may or may not be at school next week depending on quarantines, or what the local school system decides to do.

    We are no longer doctor and patient but have morphed into a team: humans vs. COVID-19.

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