Stress kills! Have you ever had that stressful moment where nothing was going right? Maybe it was a long traffic jam despite how late you already was, the bills, a personal dispute with your annoying neighbor or even seeing Donald Trump on TV.
How Stress Affects the body
According to the National Institute on Mental health, “Stress can affect your body and harm your health” While there are so many causes to stress, being stressed changes the way your body functions to help you in the process. These include; increased heart rate and blood pressure, stress hormones like, adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol are released, increased blood glucose for energy and much more. Sometimes your stress hormones can be easily triggered without your knowledge which may lead to detrimental implications on your health and body in the long run.
For this simple reason, many people live stressful lives without even knowing they’re stressed. Biologically the stress response or ‘fight or flight response’ has been hardwired into us all since the evolution of man to protect us from danger likewise assist in taking down a prey or meal. Now in 21st century we have restaurants and food outlets in addition to many food options so we typically have no need for the burst of energy triggered.
While the stress response would’ve been useful 10,000 years ago to help you escape a hungry dinosaur or dragon blowing fire not to mention hunting for food. In this day an age; no hunting is needed, you can simply order your meal online and have it delivered to your front door FREE.
This survival mechanism has proven effective for 100,000 years ago however, nowadays many of us seem to exploit the stress response even though it’s not needed at the moment. Majority of the times it’s because most persons are unaware of the implications to their health. It is very important to not allow yourself to become stressed ever so often.
Have you ever heard the phrases?
Whether you heard of this phrase or not, throughout this article you’ll realize how closely stress is linked to death and other health complications and diseases such as cancer. In this article I will discuss the effects of stress on your body and why you shouldn’t allow yourself to become overly stressed so often. So now lets discuss the implications of stress on your health and body:
- Increased risks of heart disease: Since the heart is one of the main organ in the body responsible for circulating blood, the effects of stress can have severe impacts on your heart health. Stress causes your heart to beat faster while contracting smaller which results in limited oxygen intake. This may lead to irregular heart beats and puts a lot of pressure on the organ.
- Headache and Migrain Being stressed may lead to consistent and prolonged headaches and migraines. This may occur due to limited supply of oxygen to the brain or the increased blood flow to the brain along with other factors listed below. The increased pressure on the body has a lot of implications on the brain
- Increased blood sugar: Consistently being stressed increases your chances of getting type 1 or type 2 diabetes. This occurs because the stress hormones trigger an increase in the level of glucose in the blood to supply your muscles with sufficient energy to fight or flight. This if consistent may lead to insulin resistance and fatigue in the muscle as a result.
- Weight gain: YES! Stress does help you gain weight. Avoid being overly stressed all the time because this may lead to you gaining weight faster than you’re capable of losing at the gym. The stress hormone cortisol is known to boost appetite and increase cravings for junk foods such as fatty foods or sugar foods like cookies. The body biologically responses to being stressed by deceiving the brain into thinking calories burnt by being stressed should be replaced. Therefore many people seek after comfort foods either high in sugars or fats. Review our top 10 workouts to help you lose weight and keep in shape.
- Blood clotting: Whenever your body is under stress, your blood begins to clot to prevent you from bleeding to death. This is how the body works. Since the stress response is to help keep you alive; in the event you were to get cut or attacked by a prey (Dinosaur, Dragon), your blood clotting would help slow down the bleeding process.
- High Blood Pressure: Stress raises your blood pressure tremendously which increases your risks of other health implications. If you’re already suffering from high blood pressure or mild blood clots, consider not allowing yourself to become stressed too often. The pressure on the heart and impaired circulation of blood does have an effect on your blood pressure.
- Stroke or heart attack Stress consistently increases your risks of a heart attack or stroke. This can occur due to the increased heart rate in addition to blot clotting and impaired blood circulation to and from the brain. This can cause damages to the heart’s muscle due to work overload.
- Cancer and other serious diseases: Being stressed causes your immune system to weaken significantly. This causes your body to be more vulnerable to being infected by harmful viruses and diseases such as cancer. When your body is weakened; diseases like cancer thrive due to the cells being unable to eradicate these from the body.
- Decrease in anti-aging growth hormones: This is the most visible signs of being stressed. When you’re consistently stressed, you begin to look older than your age. This is because your anti-growth hormones are decreased inside of the body which allows for wrinkles to show. An example of this is a young female at the age of 21 but her appearance looks as though she is 54.
- Depression: Stress may trigger depression in some individuals due to the decrease in hormones which regulate mood. This increases cravings of comfort foods likewise neglecting healthy lifestyle practices. Prolonged stress or chronic stress has been closely linked to depression which may have negative impacts on the body. If you or someone you know is going through depression due to stress it is best to consult with a doctor for advice. Don’t stress yourself consistently to avoid the risk of depression and other harmful condition or diseases.
- Suppress digestion: When you’re stressed, your digestive system automatically slows down or shuts off completely because of the triggered flight or fight response. This results in a depletion of the enzymes necessary for digesting foods in the stomach. Your body does this naturally to divert its energy sources towards facing the perceived threat (Whether real or imagined). This may lead to abdominal pain or gastrointestinal disorders likewise acid reflux and heartburn.
- Acid reflux and indigestion Stress forces many people to crave high fat or sugary comfort foods. This may also cause you to over eat. Naturally the body thinks that it should replace the calories that was burnt during stress (realistically you never burnt any calories being stressed). Additionally fatty foods and sugary foods have a high tendency to increase acid reflux and heart burn. Stress has been connected with the depletion of prostaglandins known to protect the stomach from acid effects. Therefore it is best to reduce your stress levels to avoid acid reflux and heart burn.
- Reduced immune support consistently being stressed reduces your ability to fight off other harmful diseases and infections. This makes your body vulnerable to diseases like cancers and other harmful viruses. Since your body is mainly focused on avoiding being eaten or damaged, fighting off diseases or viruses isn’t a priority while being stressed. Therefore if you want to boost your immune system, avoid stressing out yourself consistently.
- Fight or flight: 10,000 years ago when dinosaurs and dragons were around; if you were fishing by the river and you saw a T-Rex coming towards you to eat you, the fight or flight response would be very efficient. You would simply “flight” or run away and hide of “fight” battle the T-Rex with your bare hands. In a simple situation such as getting a ticket for packing, being stressed automatically gets you into fight or flight mode which your body isn’t prepared for.
- Insomnia: Stress may cause you to experience insomnia and reduce the amount of sleep you get at night. Since sleep is very effective for the body to recover and grow, losing too much sleep may have significant impacts on your health and body. Whenever you’re stressed, your body naturally boosts your energy to fight or flight so sleeping is your last option at the moment.
There you have the top 15 effects of stress on the body. Now there are a lot more harmful effects stress may have on the body not listed herein. If there are other effects that I did not mention or overlooked, feel free to list it in the comments below. After reading this article, I hope you avoid stressing yourself over the simple stuff because it’s not worth it. Consider adding yoga or frequent meditation to your daily activities to help reduce your stress levels. Stress has been closely linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, cancers, heart diseases and even death. Therefore I recommend that you avoid stressing out yourself over the simple stuff unless you have to…… which you don’t so don’t stress yourself out.