Stress is caused by overloading the body and mind with pressure, whether it be from school, work, or family life.
Stress can weaken important organs and trigger chronic illness by depleting the immune system and increasing blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and other factors that increase the risk for stroke and cardiovascular disease.
Stress can also cause insomnia – difficulty falling asleep — which compounds health problems associated with stress. The end result: a vicious cycle of ill-health.
This has been written by Dr. Nadia Aronin, a practicing physician who specializes in cardiovascular medicine and internal medicine as well as other medical conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
What are the signs of stress?
People tend to react to stress in different ways. However, many people experience these common symptoms when stressed:
- Stomach upset or nausea
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
- Irritability or frustration
- Restlessness or feeling overwhelmed
- Lack of motivation and engagement in daily activities
- Frequent illnesses such as colds, viruses, and flu-like symptoms
If you experience these symptoms for more than a week or so, it is advisable to seek professional help.
What are the effects of stress on the body?
The main effects of stress are that it is typically an emotional reaction to life’s challenges. Stress may also refer to the physical, emotional, and mental impact of traumatic events, such as natural disasters.
The physiological symptoms of stress can include increased heart rate, muscle tension, irritability, unexplained crying spells, and fatigue. Basically, stress is an emotion or event that overwhelms us or causes us to react with alarm.
Stress has been found to play a large role in the health of those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. Stress can cause symptoms such as hyperalgesia, or increased sensitivity to pain, and it also increases symptoms of disease activity.
In addition, stress exacerbates symptoms for those already living with RA. The Journal of Rheumatology states that stress causes a similar reaction at a molecular level as does inflammation, which is one of the symptoms associated with RA, leading to further symptoms compounded by both diseases.
There are multiple ways that people living with RA can help their bodies cope with chronic stress symptoms including exercise and meditation.
The Effects Of Stress On Women’s Body
Womens’ bodies react differently than men’s too prolonged exposure to cortisol and stress. For example, women tend to store fat in the abdomen area as opposed to men who typically distribute weight more evenly throughout the entire body.
This abdominal storage area is associated with higher rates of depression and anxiety as well as an increased likelihood for cardiovascular events such as heart disease and stroke.
The Results Of Stress On Young People
Youth today are experiencing a high level of demands placed upon them, whether it be school, activities or home life. These added pressures can result in stress — both good and bad types of stress — and this can affect their development and health.
Good stress leads to positive experiences that strengthen resilience; negative types of stress lead to chronic conditions that impact health over time. Chronic conditions brought about by stress may also lead to depression and suicidal thoughts.
The Effects Of Stress On Men’s Body
Stress is not just a women’s issue. Men are equally at risk for the negative effects of stress on their health, including depression.
A study published in Men & Masculinities includes research that shows how biological differences between males and females lead to different stress responses among the genders.
While women tend to experience higher rates of depression as a result of stress, men are more likely to show outward signs of anxiety by acting out, drinking alcohol heavily, or engaging in some other risky behaviors which may put them more at risk for heart disease.
The effects of constant stress over time can be very debilitating on an individual’s physical, mental and emotional health because it has been shown via research to affect the immune system, heart rate, blood pressure and can increase a person’s vulnerability for diseases.
Stress is known to have been associated with cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and even coronary heart disease.