Stress can be triggered by the pressures of everyday responsibilities both at work and at home. Whether it’s just a temporary frustration like a traffic jam, or a major life event like job loss or death of a loved one, psychological stress can seriously affect our bodies. Although stress can be highly personal (since one person’s bad encounter could actually be another’s heady adventure) and even a little bit of it can be considered beneficial for our memory and motivation, it’s important to bear in mind that an estimate of 70% of doctor visits and some 80% of serious illnesses nowadays are strongly linked to, if not aggravated by, stress.
5 Ways Stress Can Jeopardize Your Body
Unfortunately, stress cause a variety of symptoms that can affect our overall health and well-being. In the short term, it’s not necessarily a terrible thing, but chronic stress can put our health at risk. Physical illness and traumatic experiences (say brought on by disaster, war, or violent attacks) can keep our body’s stress levels severely high far longer than is needed for survival. Here are five common ways that stress can affect our body.
- Mental Health Problems. When we are stressed, our brain’s hypothalamus tends to send orders to our adrenal glands to release cortisol and adrenaline. In fact, a study showed how chronic stress triggers long-term changes in brain structure and function – alterations which can play a role for someone to suffer from mental health issues like insomnia, anxiety, depression, adrenal fatigue, and even dementia.
- Weaker Immune System. Most patients with autoimmune conditions are likely to affirm that they have observed their health to start waning during stressful life events, and this stress-autoimmune link can actually be substantiated with research. In fact, a study back in 2001 suggests how certain autoimmune patients had more stressful life events before their diagnosis as compared to control groups, and another study from 2012 reveals how traumatic stress in childhood can increase the odds of being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease later in life.
- Weight Gain and Heart Diseases. If you are unable to lose weight sustainably, it might be because of stress. A study found out how chronic stress can single-handedly decelerate metabolism as well as increase unnecessary cravings that could result for you to gain as much as 11 pounds each year! Also, another studydiscovered how stress at work can contribute to one’s higher risk of heart disease and other health problems.
- Gastro-Intestinal (GI) Disorders. Your second brain is none other than your gut which contains 95% of your serotonin or mood-lifting neurotransmitter. That’s maybe why it was not surprising at all when a study back in 2011 exposed how stress is connected to GI conditions like ulcers, Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
- Eye and Ear-Related Complaints. Chronic stress has been found to cause debilitating conditions like eye twitching and spasms, as well as ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and vertigo which is a type of dizziness that often feels like a spinning or swaying movement usually associated with nausea, vomiting, sweating, or difficulties walking.