Seven Ways Chronic Stress Impacts your Health

Are you feeling stressed all the time? Stress is something we all encounter on a regular basis, but when it starts to have a negative effect on your body and mind, it means you are distressed.

What a lot of people don’t know is that stress is a state of being that negatively impacts the body. In fact, stress has a bigger impact on our bodies than most of us realize or care to acknowledge.

Facts about Stress and your Body

There are some downright frightening facts about the toll that stress takes on the body. When you look at the data it is difficult to deny that we all need to learn how to manage our stress more effectively. Facts such as:

• 43% of all adults have health problems related to stress
• 75-90% of all doctor visits are stress-related
• 82% of workers are at least a little stressed in the workplace
• Stress is known to cost American businesses more than $300 billion each year

Seven Ways your Body is Affected by Stress

There are two kinds of stress. The “good” stress is called eustress but we generally only hear about the “bad” stress known as chronic stress or distress.  The word eustress consists of two parts. The prefix eu comes from the Greek word meaning either “well” or “good.”  It is the positive cognitive response to stress that is healthy, or gives one a feeling of fulfillment or other positive feelings.

Chronic stress gradually affects your health at first; in fact, you may not even notice the symptoms at all. And if the stress is not dealt with, the symptoms will get worse and its effects may even be irreversible.

1. Depression. When you are stressed out, it is very common for people to become depressed. There are only so many chemicals in the brain to help a person deal with stress, and when they are all gone, that’s it. This can lead to a person becoming severly depressed in what seems like a relatively short period of time.

2. Anxiety. Those who are stressed are likely dealing with uncontrollable levels of anxiety. Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand, and this can cause many different changes in the physiological functioning of the body.

3. Heart disease. Stress is closely linked with heart attacks and death associated with cardiovascular disease. When stress is not managed, the body breaks down rapidly and the heart is often profoundly impacted.

4. Diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is one of the fastest growing epidemics in the world. Mental and physical stress can both cause rapid fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Long-term effects in this include liver problems, heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, and more.

5. Hair loss. We often tease our friends and family when they begin to lose hair, and this can be a symptom of unmanaged stress. If your hair is falling out prematurely don’t rush to blame genetics. Look closely at how you are dealing with the stress in your life and see if there are things you can do to control it more effectively.

6. Obesity. Many cope with stress by eating unhealthy, fattening foods. Stress also prohibits the regulation of chemicals needed to break down fat, which can lead to obesity.

7. Sexual dysfunction. Stress is one of the most common reasons associated with impotence in men.

So it should be obvious that stress can affect your health in many manners. This was by no means a complete list of affects of stress on your body and health. There is also hyperthyroidism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, tooth and gum disease, ulcers, and even cancer. Stress is serious; all the more reason to initiate actively managing your stress today.