12 Ways Stress Can Mess With Your System

Chronic Stress Can Adversely Affect Our Health

We cannot escape or hide from stress. Stress is a biological response to demands posed by our environment or sometimes even by ourselves. Stress, in many situations, is helpful but being under extreme and constant stress for extended periods of time can be harmful and may adversely affect our health. Listed below are some of the adverse effects that stress can have on our bodies.

1. Stress May Cause Headaches

Stress has been found to be one of the major causes of migraines and what is popularly called tension headaches. This may be caused primarily due to constant exposure to everyday stresses. They may also be caused in individuals who are expected to take major life decisions like choosing a new career or getting married.

2. May Cause Insomnia

Stress may cause a disruption in an individual’s regular sleep patterns. It may cause the individual to not be able to fall asleep and stay on alert mode even during periods of rest. This loss in quality of sleep may later add to the stress.

3. May Weaken The Immune System

Several studies have found that the immunity levels of students during exams underwent a noticeable dip than during non-stress periods. Students under stress were found to be more likely to catch the flu or fall sick than those who weren’t.

4. May Cause High Blood Sugar

When your body is under stress, the liver may produce larger amounts of glucose. If this stress remains unresolved for an extended period, it could result in a risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

5. Increases Blood Pressure

The hormones produced in your body when it is under stress, causes blood pressure to increase. Increased blood pressure High blood pressure causes blood vessels to narrow increasing the risk of heart failure.

6. Chronic Stress Results In Heart-Related Issues

The APA states, “The consistent and ongoing increase in heart rate, and the elevated levels of stress hormones and of blood pressure, can take a toll on the body. This long-term ongoing stress can increase the risk for hypertension, heart attack or stroke. Repeated acute stress and persistent chronic stress may also contribute to inflammation in the circulatory system, particularly in the coronary arteries, and this is one pathway that is thought to tie stress to heart attack.”

7. Stress Causes Tense Muscles

Chronic stress causes the muscles in the body to become more tensed. When muscles are taut and tense for long periods of time, it can cause body and headaches.

8. May Cause Weight Gain

Chronic stress in some individuals may cause an increase in weight. This may be due to the food cravings caused to the production of cortisol in the body.

9. May Result In Constipation Or Diarrhea

Stress can cause an individual to crave comfort foods that are have a high carbohydrate and high fat content. Stress also directly affects the gastrointestinal tract making an impact on how the food is digested in the body causing the individual to experience constipation or diarrhea.

10. May Cause Increased Acidity

Stress causes an increase in stomach acid leading to several other problems including heartburn, acid re-flux, nausea and increased risk of ulcers.

11. Chronic Stress May Cause Reduced Sex Drive In Women

Stress has been known to cause several sexual health disorders including impotency or erectile dysfunction in men and irregular or more painful periods in women. Studies have also found that stress in women may cause a reduction in stress drive.

12. Chronic Stress May Lead To Mental Health Disorders

An individual suffering from chronic stress may face mental health issues if the stress remains unresolved. Chronic stress has been known to cause several mental health disorders including anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.