Stress Affects Your Health, Mind and Body
Stress can be highly personal, with one person’s unpleasant experience and another person’s who is unaffected by the experience. About 70 percent of doctor visits and 80 percent of serious illnesses may be exacerbated or linked to stress.
Stress Management long term fixes:
- Exercise – 30″ Day / 5 Days
- Meditation – Daily
- Conscious Breathing – Daily
- Progressive Relaxation – Daily
- Journaling – Daily
- Guided Meditation- Daily
- Tai Chi
- Tae Bo
- Short Term Fixes
Stress Can Affect Your Health and Body in 23 Ways:
1. Fight or flight 50-60 times a day. The adrenals output hormones, such as cortisol & adrenaline that raises blood pressure and blood sugar. Not needed in most cases today. Over time it can be harmful to health.
2. Cravings Studies have linked cortisol to cravings for sugar and fat. Eat healthy meals/snacks when an attack of emotional eating occurs.
3. Fat storage “You can clearly correlate stress to weight gain,” says Philip Hagen, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The stress hormone cortisol may increase the amount of fat tissue your body hangs onto and enlarge the size of fat cells. Higher levels of cortisol have been linked to more abdominal belly fat.
4. Heart A recent study of 200,000 employees in Europe found that people who have stressful jobs and little decision-making power at work are 23% more likely to have a first heart attack than people with less job-related stress. Lead a heart-healthy lifestyle and focus on reducing stress in your life.
5. Insomnia Stress can cause hyper-arousal, a biological state in which people just don’t feel sleepy. See our Insomnia Blogs.
6. Headaches “Fight or flight” chemicals like adrenaline (epinephrine) and cortisol can cause tension headaches or migraines, either during the stress or in the “let-down” period afterwards. Stress also makes your muscles tense, which can make the pain of a migraine worse.
7. Memory Too much of the stress hormone cortisol can interfere with the brain’s ability to form new memories. During acute stress, the hormone also interferes with neurotransmitters, the chemicals that brain cells use to communicate with each other. That can make it hard to think straight or retrieve memories. A meditation practice should be implemented.
8. Hair Severe stress may even harm your hair. While the research is mixed, stress is thought to play a role in triggering hair loss in the autoimmune condition called alopecia areata. Stress and anxiety can also contribute to a disorder medically known as trichotillomania, in which people have a hard-to-resist urge to pull out the hair from their own scalp.
9. Pregnancy – Remain Calm. Stress may affect the ability to get pregnant. One study found that women with the highest levels of a stress-related substance called alpha-amylase were about 12% less likely to get pregnant each cycle than those with the lowest concentrations. During pregnancy severe stress, like losing a job or going through a divorce, can increase the chances of premature labor. There’s even some research suggesting that very high levels of stress can affect the developing fetal brain. Prenatal yoga and other stress-reduction techniques can help, so talk to your doctor if you’re severely stressed and pregnant.
10. Blood sugar Stress is known to raise blood sugar, and if you already have type 2 diabetes you may find that your blood sugar is higher when you are under stress.
One study of obese black women without diabetes found that those who produced more stress-related epinephrine when asked to recall stressful life events had higher fasting glucose and bigger blood sugar spikes than those with lower epinephrine, suggesting it might raise your risk for getting diabetes too. High swings in blood sugar equals early death.
11. Digestion Heartburn, stomach cramping, and diarrhea can all be caused by or worsened by stress. Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, which is characterized by pain and bouts of constipation and diarrhea is thought to be fueled in part by stress.
12. Blood pressure A stressful situation can raise your blood pressure temporarily. Chronic stress can cause more permanent changes in your blood pressure.
13. Brain tissue Brain-imaging research shows that major stresses can reduce the amount of tissue in regions of the brain that regulate emotions and self-control. This damage may make dealing with future stresses even harder. Reverse with effective stress-management techniques and neuroplasticity practices.
14. Skin Stress can give you zits. Research suggests that students with acne are more prone to outbreaks during exams compared to less stressful time periods. An increase of male hormones known as androgens could be a culprit, particularly in women. Stress can also trigger psoriasis to appear for the first time or make an existing case more severe. Stress Management such as biofeedback and meditation can help.
15. Back pain Stress can set off an acute attack of back pain as well as contribute to ongoing chronic pain, due to the “fight or flight” response tensing your muscles. One European study found that people who are prone to anxiety and negative thinking are more likely to develop back pain, while a U.S. study tied anger and mental distress to ongoing back pain.
16. Sex appeal One study found that women were less attracted to men with high levels of the stress hormone cortisol compared to men with lower levels. Low levels of stress suggest strength, health and control which are desirable traits to be passed on to offspring.
17. Stroke A study of 20,000 people who had never had a stroke or heart disease found that stress was linked to an increased risk of stroke. In another recent study, healthy adults who had experienced a stressful life event within the past year were four times as likely to suffer a stroke than their less-stressed counterparts. Narrowing of the arteries (known as atherosclerosis) due to stress-related high blood pressure and diet.
18. Premature aging Traumatic events and chronic stress can both shorten telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of cell chromosomes, causing your cells to age faster.
19. Colds Researchers believe stressed people’s immune cells may be less sensitive to a hormone that turns off inflammation reducing the immune system fight against the common colds and bronchitis.
20. Asthma Stress seems to exacerbate asthma in people who have the lung condition. In one study, children who experienced severe stress such as the death of a loved one had a nearly two-fold increase in the risk of an asthma attack over the following two weeks compared to those not under stress. Stress may amplify the immune response to asthma triggers such as pollen, animal dander, or dust.
21. Job performance Studies of employees ranging from military personnel to bankers show that stress reduces productivity and satisfaction at work, and is linked to depression too.
One solution is to ask your employer to offer stress-management training, which can address company-wide stressors like weak communication channels as well as focusing on stress busters for individuals. “Stress clearly has an effect on productivity, and the costs of that for employers can be very high,” Dr. Hagen points out.
22. Seizures Johns Hopkins Hospital Doctors have found that some people who are especially sensitive to stress can experience seizure-like symptoms, such as far-off staring and convulsions. Up to one-third of people treated for seizures at the hospital didn’t respond to standard anti-seizure medication and doctors concluded that they had stress-induced symptoms. Known as conversion disorder, some people can subconsciously express emotional trauma as physical symptoms, they say.
23. Sex drive Stressed out people have less sex and enjoy it less when they do get it as compared to people who aren’t under stress. Reducing and managing stress can often turn things around. If not, sexual dysfunction can have medical causes so it’s important to talk to a doctor.
–By Kate Fodor, Health.com – Edited by Richard Taylor
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Courtesy of Health.com
Copyright © 2013 Health Media Ventures, Inc. All rights reserved.
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