September 1, 2022
How Stress Can Affect Your Body
Did you know that stress can affect your body? Yes, excess stress triggers the release of certain hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones prime your body to respond quickly to danger by running away from it or fighting back against it if needed. When stress becomes chronic, these hormones can be damaging on many levels. This article gives an insight into the effects of chronic stress on your body.
How Does Stress Affect Your Body?
Stress affects your body in many ways. The first way is by increasing your blood pressure, which over time may lead to heart disease or potentially a stroke. Stress also increases your blood sugar levels, which can lead to diabetes if the stress continues for a prolonged period. This can also lead to inflammation of the digestive tract or other parts of the body. Stress also leads people to neglect their physical health and hygiene, which can lead to skin problems or illness from bacteria on the skin not being cleaned off properly. In addition, chronic stress has been shown to increase the risk for depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders, contribute to insomnia, and cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) like flashbacks or nightmares.
What Stress Does to Your Immune System
Stressed people are more likely to catch colds, cases of flu, and other infections because stress changes the way your body functions. Your immune system is weakened because chronic stress upsets the balance between hormones like cortisol and testosterone. Cortisol is released in response to stress which causes it to weaken your immune system’s defenses and increase inflammation. Cortisol has been linked with higher levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar which can lead to cardiovascular disease as well as diabetes. Higher cortisol levels also make it difficult for you to fall asleep at night which can result in chronic insomnia or depression that leads to even more problems due to lack of sleep.
Stress and the Digestive System
The digestion process is one of the first areas to be impacted by stress. When your body releases adrenaline or cortisol, it shuts down digestive enzymes responsible for breaking down food. This slows digestion and can cause problems with gas, nausea, heartburn, and more.
So, how can you combat this? Carefully monitor your diet when you’re stressed to make sure that you’re getting enough protein and essential nutrients. You’ll also want to avoid certain foods that might make symptoms worse like spicy foods, alcohol, caffeine-dense drinks (like coffee), and large amounts of sugar.
The Effect of Stress on Sleep
Stress can affect your sleep because stress triggers the release of hormones that make you feel awake. Although adrenaline and cortisol are great for helping you deal with short-term threats, they can be damaging when they’re released too frequently or in large amounts. When these hormones are released, it’s difficult to sleep soundly because your body is primed to respond quickly to danger. It increases blood pressure and blood sugar levels, contributes to inflammation, and leads to problems like insomnia, depression, anxiety, heart disease, and more.
Have you ever found yourself in a stressful situation, and felt like your body was going on autopilot? Many people do, but did you know that stress can affect more than just your emotional state? It can also affect your immune system, your digestion, and even your sleep patterns. Chronic stress can also predispose you to illnesses like high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, psychotic-like behaviors, cardiovascular diseases, and high blood sugar.