Stress is a word that we use often but almost never take seriously. The fact is that stress causes or worsens of a lot of diseases—some of which can be fatal—and should always be managed properly. Listed below are eight health issues caused by stress. Although many other factors can trigger these conditions, stress can be a big contributor, so remind yourself to take a breather or two when things get a little to hot to handle.
Headaches are a common condition that stress can cause. NHS reports that these can be triggered by emotional situations that push the body to be continuously tense and on “fight-or-fly” mode. Common headaches can easily be remedied by over-the-counter medication, but some, such as migraines, may require bed rest.
2. Weaker Immune System
When you are stressed, your body produces hormones called cortisol, which, according to the American Psychological Association, causes the immune system to weaken. This means that chronic stress can strip the body of its defenses, making it more prone to catching diseases it would otherwise fight off.
3. Acid Reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), more commonly known as “acid reflux,” often occurs when a person is continuously exposed to prolonged stress. This is ultimately connected to other conditions such as heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome. Healthline explains that stress may be triggering the body’s pain receptors, making one more sensitive to the rise of acidic levels in the stomach.
Stress may worsen asthma for a person who already has it. WebMD explains that stress triggers the release of chemicals such as histamines and leukotriene which may narrow air passages. Moreover, as mentioned earlier, stress may cause a person’s immune system to weaken, which may lead to other viral respiratory diseases that may further worsen an asthmatic’s condition.
Chronic stress may lead to the development of depression, a psychological disorder brought about hormonal and chemical imbalances with symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, feelings of hopelessness, appetite loss, and insomnia, among others. Chronic stress can be overwhelming, and if simple stress management techniques are not working, the Mayo Clinic suggests going to a doctor for a treatment options.
For some people, eating is one way to cope with stress. However, comfort eating, which is triggered by the release of the feel-good chemical serotonin, can cause a person to consume more food than normal. Everyday Health also adds that cortisol may also contribute in obesity, as it boosts appetite and creates cravings for sweet and fatty food.
7. Heart disease
A person who is always stressed has an increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. According to WebMD, stress can raise blood pressure and may also cause the release of cholesterol into the blood stream. A stressed person is also more likely to indulge in bad habits such as smoking and drinking and these can add to the chances of creating blood clots in the coronary arteries, leading to a heart attack.
Stress can increase the risk of a person having a stroke, according to a study posted on Medical News Today. Poor psychological health can have a similar impact to the body as other lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, blood pressure, and body mass index. Based on the study’s findings, a person who cannot properly cope with stress and has a negative or cynical outlook in life has a higher risk of stroke.
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