Stress Effects On Your Body…!!!

Stress Effects On Your Body…!!!

How does stress affect health?

The human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. Stress can be positive, keeping you 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.

Stress that continues without relief can lead to a condition called distress, a negative stress reaction. Distress can lead to physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain and problems with sleeping. Research suggests that stress can also bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases.

Stress also becomes harmful when people turn to 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:

The Health and Safety Executive says around 10.4 million working days are lost each year to stress, depression or anxiety.
Occupations with the highest rates of work-related stress are social work, teaching and public administration.
The NHS says psychological problems, including stress, anxiety and depression, are behind one in five visits to a GP.
Stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma and arthritis.

Common effects of stress

 Indeed, stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can give you a jump on managing them. Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
Common effects of stress …
… On your body … On your mood … On your behavior
  • Headache
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Change in sex drive
  • Stomach upset
  • Sleep problems
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation or focus
  • Irritability or anger
  • Sadness or depression
  • Overeating or undereating
  • Angry outbursts
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Tobacco use
  • Social withdrawal

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:

Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
Seventy-five percent to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
Stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression, and anxiety.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.
The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50%, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions.

Gastrointestinal
Esophagus
When you’re stressed, you may eat much more or much less than you usually do. If you eat more or different foods, or increase your use of alcohol or tobacco, you can experience heartburn or acid reflux. Stress or exhaustion can also increase the severity of heartburn pain.
Stomach
When you’re stressed, your brain becomes more alert to sensations in your stomach. Your stomach can react with “butterflies” or even nausea or pain. You may vomit if the stress is severe enough. And, if the stress becomes chronic, you may develop ulcers or severe stomach pain even without ulcers.
Bowel
Stress can affect digestion, and what nutrients your intestines absorb. It can also affect how fast food moves through your body. You may find that you have either diarrhea or constipation.

Stress & Mental Health

Studies have shown a link between stress and mental health problems, the reason behind this connection has remained unclear. Recent research from the University of California, Berkeley, has discovered new insight into why stress can be so detrimental to a person’s psyche.

Previous research has found physical differences in the brains of people with stress disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and those without. One of the main distinctions is that the ratio of the brain’s white matter to gray matter is higher in those with stress-related mental disorders compared to those without.

Shrinks The Brain
Even for healthy people, stressful moments can take a toll on the brain, a new study from Yale University suggests.

Researchers reported in the journal Biological Psychiatry that stressful occasions — like going through a divorce or being laid off — can actually shrink the brain by reducing gray matter in regions tied to emotion and physiological functions. This is important because these

Raises Stroke Risk
Stressed-out people may have a higher stroke risk than their more mellowed-out peers, according to an observational study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

“Compared with healthy age-matched individuals, stressful habits and type A behavior are associated with high risk of stroke.

Nervous System

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is a vast network of nerves reaching out from the spinal cord, directly affecting every organ in the body. It has two branches, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic, which have opposite effects.

The sympathetic ANS helps us deal with stressful situations by initiating a ‘fight or flight’ reaction. After the danger has passed, the parasympathetic ANS takes over, decreasing heartbeat and relaxing blood vessels.

In healthy people, the two branches of the ANS maintain a balance — action followed by relaxation. Unfortunately many people’s sympathetic ANS stays on guard, making them unable to relax and let the parasympathetic system take over. If this situation becomes chronic, a whole variety of stress-related symptoms and illnesses can follow.

Mind and body are inextricably linked and the interaction between them can produce physical changes. Our brain notices a stressor, a physical reaction is triggered, and the reaction can lead to further emotional reactions and mental and physical damage. Some problems such as headaches and muscle tension are often directly caused by the bodily responses that accompany stress. Many other disorders, some say most, are aggravated by stress.

The human body is designed to withstand occasional extreme stress, so can survive quite a lot of pressure. It’s important to remember that most negative symptoms can be corrected if you take action. And there’s a lot of help available. If you are at all worried, do not delay in getting expert advice — your peace of mind is worth the effort. The problem will most likely not go away and the worst thing you can do is ignore it.

If you do develop a stress-related illness, at least you will have become familiar with your individual ‘weak point’, and will be able to keep a close eye on it. If similar symptoms creep back, take them very seriously as a warning. Take a close look at your current situation and ease off the pressure wherever possible. Most of the problems below aren’t life-threatening, and controlling your stress levels will help keep them at bay.

Sexual Desire

Women juggle personal, family, professional, financial and a broad range of other demands across their life span. Stress, distraction, fatigue, etc., may reduce sexual desire — especially when women are simultaneously caring for young children or other ill family members, coping with chronic medical problems, feeling depressed, experiencing relationship difficulties or abuse, dealing with work problems, etc.

Fat storage

“You can clearly correlate stress to weight gain,” says Philip Hagen, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Part of that link is due to poor eating during stress, but the stress hormone cortisol may also increase the amount of fat tissue your body hangs onto and enlarge the size of fat cells. Higher levels of cortisol have been linked to more deep-abdominal fat—yes, belly fat. 

Heart Problems

Over the long term, people who react more to stress have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. This risk particularly is linked to people who tend to be excessively competitive, impatient, hostile, and move and talk quickly. Of these characteristics, hostility is often pinpointed as the most significant.

The common stress response of eating comfort foods, with their accompanying fat and salt, is not beneficial to the heart either.

Skin Problems

Stress is known to aggravate skin problems such as acne, psoriasis and eczema. It also has been linked to unexplained itchy skin rashes. These skin problems are themselves intensely stressful.

Diabetes

There is some evidence that chronic stress may lead to insulin-dependent diabetes in people who are predisposed to the disease. It could be that stress causes the immune system to destroy insulin-producing cells.

Infertility

Stress does not normally cause infertility, but the two have been linked many times. People who are trying for a baby are more likely to conceive when on holiday or when facing little stress, and fertility treatment is more successful at these times too.

Pain

Continued stimulation of muscles through prolonged stress can lead to muscular pain such as backache. Together with our sedentary lifestyles and bad posture, this makes back, shoulder and neck ache extremely widespread.

Insomnia
Stress can cause hyperarousal, a biological state in which people just don’t feel sleepy.

While major stressful events can cause insomnia that passes once the stress is over, long-term exposure to chronic stress can also disrupt sleep and contribute to sleep disorders.

What to do? Focus on sleep hygiene (making your surroundings conducive to a good night’s rest) and try yoga or another stress-busting activity during the day.

Difficult to Control Your Emotions
It’s no secret that stressed people can fly off the handle. But new research tells us that how little stress is actually required for you to lose your cool.

A recent study by neuroscientists at New York University found that even mild levels of stress can impair our ability to keep a grip on our emotions. In their study, researchers taught subjects stress-control techniques. But after participants were put under mild stress by having their hands dunked in icy water, they couldn’t easily calm themselves down when shown pictures of snakes or spiders.

You Look Older
Chronic stress is a major contributor to premature aging.

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco discovered that stress shortens telomeres—structures on the end of chromosomes—so that new cells can’t grow as quickly. This leads to the inevitable signs of aging: wrinkles, weak muscles, poor eyesight, and more.

Weakens Your Immune System
The connection between mind and body are often underestimated, but everyone’s experienced a cold when they can least afford to. That’s because stress is so demanding on the body that the immune system suffers, making you more vulnerable to colds and infection.

Respiratory System
Stress can make you breathe harder. That’s not a problem for most people, but for those with asthma or a lung disease such as emphysema, getting the oxygen you need to breathe easier can be difficult.
And some studies show that an acute stress — such as the death of a loved one — can actually trigger asthma attacks, in which the airway between the nose and the lungs constricts.
In addition, stress can cause the rapid breathing — or hyperventilation — that can bring on a panic attack in someone prone to panic attacks.
Working with a psychologist to develop relaxation and breathing strategies can help.

It’s no secret that stressed people can fly off the handle. But new research tells us that how little stress is actually required for you to lose your cool.

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Originally posted 2015-04-28 06:13:38.

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