Fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, upset stomach, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, insomnia, low sex drive — anyone who is living a stressful life have experienced some or all of these at one point. These unfavorable symptoms can oftentimes be managed with the help of a few stress-busters, like doing yoga, having a bath or getting a massage.
Did you know that there are much bigger issues that you have to be concerned with aside from those that were already mentioned above? This is particularly true if your stress is the uncontrolled kind!
Chronic stress is something that not only makes you feel awful, but can also get you really sick sooner or later. According to numerous studies, unmanaged stress can exacerbate currently-existing medical problems, as well as bring about many others. In other words, chronic stress can increase your risk of certain conditions and diseases.
And what are these health problems? Some of them include:
It’s been long established that people who are always stressed out are at higher risk of problems concerning the heart. This does not come as a shock because chronic stress can induce cholesterol buildup and hypertension or high blood pressure, both of which can increase a person’s chance of having heart disease.
Medical experts say that there are a couple of reasons why being stressed all the time can cause diabetes. First, chronic stress can directly increase levels of sugar in the blood. Second, unmanaged stress can make a person resort to diabetes-causing habits, such as unhealthy eating and excessive alcohol intake.
GI Tract Problems
An upset stomach is not the only GI issue that stress can bring. If left uncontrolled, stress is also something that can make a person suffer from acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Medical experts say that it’s very much possible for chronic stress to eventually cause irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
There’s a study which revealed that people who have stressful jobs, such as jobs with high demand but offers few rewards, were at higher risk of depression. Other than depression, chronic stress can also cause anxiety. Both depression and anxiety can make a person’s life even more stressful, leading to a vicious cycle.
Being stressed all the time can make a person gain weight most especially in the midsection, experts say. It’s all because of cortisol, a hormone produced by the body when it’s exposed to stress. The problem with cortisol is it promotes the accumulation of fat in parts of the body many are already finding as problem areas: the belly and thighs.
In a study conducted in animals, stress accelerated the formation of lesions in the brain. This is why chronic stress is believed to speed up the development of or worsen Alzheimer’s disease. Some investigations suggest that controlling stress can actually help in slowing down the progression of the said brain disorder.
Stress that is unmanaged can cause the immune system to weaken. In other words, someone who has a stressful life and fails to control his or her stress levels is at higher risk of getting a cold, flu or any other infection. Inflammation caused by chronic stress is also something that renders a person’s immune system practically useless.
Last but not least, chronic stress can lead to premature death. Such is revealed by a study done on the elderly who are looking after their spouses, which can be very stressful. The said study found out that elderly caregivers had a 63 percent higher death rate than those who are of the same age but were not looking after others.