FATIGUE & STRESSStress And Health
Almost everyone experiences stress at one time or another. For most, it is a regular part of day-to-day life. However, many people don’t realize there is a strong link between stress and health. Sudden and short-term stress (acute stress) causes rapid changes in almost all of the body’s systems as they prepare to deal with a perceived threat. Stress also has an effect on your heart rate, blood pressure, and even immune system functions.
You’ve probably heard these natural changes referred to as your “fight or flight” response. They help us deal with critical or life-threatening situations. When these responses are repeatedly triggered over long periods of time, they can adversely affect your health.
Effects Of Stress and Health
When you face stress, many changes occur simultaneously in the body. Exactly how stress affects your body depends on how it perceives the threat level. Any or all of the following can occur when your brain and body are under stress:
+ Increase in heart rate
+ Increase in blood pressure
+ High blood sugar levels
+ High levels of adrenaline and cortisol
+ Rapid breathing
+ Muscles tighten
On a primitive level, these responses help us summon strength and react faster. That’s a great advantage if you’re trying to outrun a wild animal. But if a tight deadline for a report is causing your stress, these reactions aren’t exactly beneficial.
Long-Term Effects Of Stress
When our natural responses to stress are triggered, they begin to have bad effects on our health. In fact, chronic stress is linked to many serious illnesses.
When these responses are triggered over and over again, various systems and organs eventually begin to weaken. Some of the most common outcomes are a lower immune system response and higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
As chronic stress takes its toll on the body, the inevitable result is a higher risk of disease and serious health issues. Stress and health go hand in hand. When stress is consistently high, the body’s defense systems simply can’t keep up. We become more susceptible to everything from the common cold to heart disease. If you already have a health condition such as asthma or diabetes, stress will make it worse.
Effects On The Nervous System
Constant stress can lead to anxiety, irritability and depression. You might also experience headaches, digestive problems, and difficulty sleeping.
Effects On The Cardiovascular System
Stress hormones constrict the blood vessels and elevate heart rate. This eventually leads to a higher risk of hypertension, heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
Effects On The Digestive System
The liver releases extra glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream when you’re under stress. This can aggravate diabetes or increase the risk of it developing. Stress can also bring on symptoms such as heartburn, acid reflux, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.
Effects On The Reproductive System
High stress levels can cause erectile dysfunction in men and irregular menstrual cycle in women. Both genders may experience a lower desire for sex. Chronic stress in men is also linked to higher rates of infection in the urethra, prostate, and testes.
If you’re suffering from stress, it’s important to do what you can to minimize its effects. There are plenty of effective stress management techniques you can use to relieve your stress and reduce the risk of further negative health effects.
Do you have questions about your stress and health? Contact us today and we’ll send you a free ebook explaining more about stress and fatigue.