Physical Effects Of Stress

Having control over the ravaging physical effects of stress is a valid concern if you suffer from significant amounts of tension in your life.

Its been estimated that nearly 80-90% of our visits to the doctor are due to stress related illness or conditions. Staggering is the fact that most sickness and disease can be traced to a root cause of emotional distress.

What goes on in your physical body is greatly influenced by the powerful mind-body connection. You can literally worry yourself into an early grave. The actual physical effects of stress on health can be extremely damaging. It is of the utmost importance that you help your body function the way it was meant to.

“Learn to relax. Your body is precious, as it houses your mind and spirit. Inner peace begins with a relaxed body”

~Norman Vincent Peale

How does stress affect health?

Your brain seeks to chemically regulate that elusive balance between stimulating and tranquilizing your body. Adjustments are made whenever something disturbs the metabolic equilibrium known as homeostasis.

When a threat arises the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) launches the fight-or-flight response. This prepares you for quick action by speeding the heart rate, constricting blood vessels, decreasing digestive activity, and raising blood pressure. Contrary to that, the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) ushers in the relaxation response that calms everything back down.

Trouble starts when the SNS stress hormones stubbornly dominate with increased activity that isn’t easily suppressed or turned off. In time, this unnatural release of the cortisol hormone and adrenaline floods your system to produce a slew of health-related problems.

Early signs of stress

Complaints early on from the physical effects of stress may include a stress headache, backache, neck or shoulder stiffness. These are common and often caused by muscle tension and tightness. The unconscious habit of jaw clenching or teeth grinding (even while you sleep) is a sometimes-overlooked sign that can also lead to serious dental problems.

Ever notice that stress and acne seem to go hand in hand when you’re anxious over some big event? Other skin conditions such as psoriasis, rosacea and eczema can also be aggravated when you’re under pressure. And the often-asked question, "Can stress cause hives?" - that appears to be connected as well.

There’s clearly a link between stress and hair loss too.

“Don't let your mind bully your body into believing it must carry
the burden of its worries”

~Astrid Alauda

Frequently your appetite is affected by stress and weight loss occurs. On the other hand, you might find yourself craving so-called comfort foods and overeating. Feeding your body the proper amount of food and nutrients start with self-awareness. Try keeping track of what triggers cause your eating habits by writing it down.

Stress and weight gain can grossly contribute to obesity and complicate health problems. A high incident of body fat, specifically stubborn belly fat is associated with the hormone cortisol and metabolic syndrome.

The physical effects of stress weakens your immune system. You are much more vulnerable to colds and other infections. Thus, your ability to fight impending disease is greatly diminished and compromised.

Physiological Effects of Stress and Premature Aging

Stress effects the body by speeding up the normal occurrence of oxidation. Free radicals run rampant creating excessive wear and tear on internal organs and systems throughout your body. When your distressed the very DNA within your cells is under attack!

Weakened and abnormal cells divide and multiply… an invitation for cancer!

Allergies, asthma and autoimmune diseases may become increasingly severe. With high and prolonged levels of stress, health helplessly suffers in some way as bodily functions are altered and begin to fail.

This accelerates the aging process, and brings on age-related disease!

Physical symptoms of stress and illness:

  • Adrenal fatigue symptoms - occur when over-stimulated adrenal glands have reached exhaustion and no longer function properly
  • Brain cell damage or death in the hippocampus - the area of your brain needed for memory, concentration and learning.
  • Chronic pain – migraine, inflammation, arthritis
  • Diabetes - fluctuating blood-sugar levels and insulin-dependent diabetes in those who may be predisposed to the disease.
  • Gastrointestinal problems – heartburn, acid reflux, upset stomach, nausea, ulcers, cramps, constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome
  • Heart disease (cardiovascular disease) – angina (chest pain from stress), heart attack, stroke
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) - which has been referred to as the silent killer, is many times discovered only during routine blood pressure checks
  • High (LDL) cholesterol, triglycerides
  • Insomnia – fatigue, poor sleep
  • Sexual dysfunction disorders, PMS, infertility

"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live"

~Jim Rohn

Neutralize the side effects of stress

You can greatly improve your health and help counteract the physical effects of stress by taking control of your health with a holistic approach in medicine.

  • Learn to use stress reduction techniques. It may require some effort on your part to initiate your relaxation response, but take this seriously. Your health is the most precious commodity you own. It is worth it!
  • Take steps to adequately nourish your body and promote the replication of vibrant and healthy new cells. It is crucial—not only, but especially—during stressful situations to neutralize and protect each and every cell from the devastation of free radicals.
  • Exercise daily
  • Get adequate sleep each night

These are very fundamental ways in preserving vitality and keeping the physical effects of stress at bay. If you truly want to avoid being one of the many health statistics on stress then…

Commit to the importance of maintaining good health "for life" – literally.

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