“Stress’’ is perhaps a word we heard all too often throughout our lives. We’re stressed out because of school, work, or any other such demanding activities. As you read this, you might have a billion things running through your mind. Perhaps you are fretting about that math test this week that you have been working so hard for. Or perhaps you have a very important meeting with a client tomorrow, and you are afraid of messing up the presentation.
Maybe you even have a marathon tomorrow, and you keep wondering about whether or not you will be able to complete it. All of these instances create a build-up of stress in your body, which might be seemingly harmless on a surface level, but is actually extremely detrimental to your health and might be causing irreparable damages to your organs.
The Effects of Stress on Your Body – How Body Reacts To Stress?
You see, there is a little part located near the base of your brain known as the hypothalamus. It is designated with the role of sending our orders for the release of stress hormones within your body. These stress hormones were primarily designed to put your body in survival mode during deadly situations. Instead, these are being triggered every time you find yourself stressed about something, which in turn leads to your heart beating at a rapid pace, quickening on your breath, and ensuring that your body is geared up to go into a ‘’fight or flight’’ mode. Some of the common side effects of such persistent stress include insomnia, depression, anxiety, prolonged headaches, and irritability, among others.
When you experience chronic stress, the release of such stress hormones leads to not only a quickening of your heartbeats but also sends a rush of blood to various muscles that would need to be prepped in order to switch to a survival mode. It could also cause overeating, undereating, substance abuse, or even experience a sense of social withdrawal.
To aid your body in distributing this rapid inflow of blood to the various organs, you begin to breathe quickly, which may be an issue for people who suffer from pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma or emphysema. With your blood vessels constricting in order to efficiently direct oxygen to your muscles, you might even be at a huge risk of developing high blood pressure, which brings on a list of other side effects that would only further increase your stress. If this goes neglected for too long, then you might be putting yourself at the risk of experiencing a stroke or even a heart attack.
When you are under a lot of stress, it leads to increased production of glucose in your body, to give you that extra dose of energy that your body thinks it needs to survive. If your body is incapable of keeping up with this surge in glucose, then there is a good chance you could find yourself face-to-face with type 2 diabetes. What’s more, with a disheveled respiratory system and endocrine system, your digestive system could also start giving you some trouble like heartburn or acid reflux. Additionally, it may also lead to constipation, diarrhea, persistent stomach aches, vomiting, or even nausea.
If you find yourself stressed all the time, then it might lead to a prolonged tensing up of your muscles, due to the increase in blood supply to these areas. This clutching of your muscular regions may lead to issues such as back pain, body aches, and even pain within your shoulders. These may set you off on an unhealthy path, as you might stop exercising in order to curb these pains.
Stress has a lot of other side effects that could malign the relationship you share with your body. From a drop in the testosterone levels among men, irregularity in the menstrual cycles of women to an incredibly weakened immune system, it can put you in the far end of the health spectrum. This is why, you should make it a point to take some time for yourself every day, so you can unwind and do something that interests you. Make it a priority to exercise regularly as that is an incredible fix for stress, and make sure you follow a healthy lifestyle, that focuses on mindfulness and maintaining your well-being.
Emily Baldwin received her Master’s Degree from Morsani College of Medicine, practicing since 1999 in private practice in the Key West area. She now serves as a software manager focusing on health information exchange and collaboration markets. Also possess experience in transforming clinic operations through technology deployment and innovation, as well as offering diet, nutrition advice through her blog, and urine toxicology services for medical clients.