Everyone feels stress at various times in their lives. It may be stress due to worrying about specific events or issues that are occurring at the moment. It may even be stressful due to a particular situation. At one time or another, everyone experiences stress.
In general, the occasional stress is not a big deal and can often be quickly relieved with a little relaxation.
Unfortunately, many people live with stress daily. Work, family, finances, health issues, and various other problems can create stress that is constant and difficult to relieve.
Excessive amounts of stress in a person’s life can be challenging to manage on its own.
What makes constant stress even more difficult is that it can have serious adverse effects on a person’s health and well-being. It makes it essential to get stress under control before these issues arise.
Continue Reading to learn how stress can affect your physical and mental health.
There have been recent studies that link stress and high cholesterol. Cholesterol, especially what is known as bad cholesterol, has been shown to increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease.
This bad cholesterol, when in high levels, can build up on arteries and obstruct the flow of blood.
High stress has been linked to increased risk of heart disease for two reasons. One is the lifestyle changes stress can trigger. This can lead to less exercise and poor eating habits.
Eating foods that are high in cholesterol can increase the likelihood of developing heart disease. The lack of exercise can compound that problem.
When a person is under stress, their body can increase cortisol production. Cortisol manages how the body processes carbohydrates.
This can raise blood glucose levels and, in turn, trigger an increase in triglycerides. Triglycerides have been known to increase the risks of cardiovascular disease.
Stress can even cause an increase in blood pressure. It happens due to the release of hormones during a stressful event. When stress is regular, high blood pressure can also become a chronic issue. High blood pressure can be a major risk factor for heart disease.
Stress can cause disturbances in sleep. Many people have experienced a sleepless night due to stress.
This usually occurs because a person cannot relax and remains focused on the cause of their stress.
An occasional sleepless night due to stress is one thing, but a regular occurrence can be detrimental to every aspect of a person’s life.
Another reason stress may be keeping a person up at night is due to the release of hormones that occurs during stressful situations.
The body will often trigger the fight or flight response during stressful times. This is a release of two hormones, cortisol, and adrenaline, to prepare the body in case it needs to defend itself or run away.
When stress is constant, it can cause these hormones to be released excessively. These hormones can make it impossible to get a restful night’s sleep.
Not getting enough sleep can make it challenging to get through the day and may even increase stress. This can lead to various other complications and difficulties if not corrected.
The stress response can also cause muscles to tense up and prepare for fleeing or fighting. When a stressful event occurs, a person may notice themselves getting tense. When the stressful event is over, the muscles can relax and get back to normal.
If stress is a problem all day and every day, then the muscles can stay tense all day long without a chance to relax.
This can cause the muscles to feel achy or even hard to move. Back, neck, and shoulder pain are common issues for people under a lot of stress.
If the cycle of stress continues, this pain can become debilitating. It can make it difficult to get through the day and may even become painful to perform simple tasks. It can also be challenging to get the proper exercise needed and add to the problem.
Headaches can be a big problem when dealing with stress. There are a variety of ways that stress can cause headaches. One of the most common reasons is due to the muscle tension from the stress. As muscles get tight, it can pull on the neck and head and create a tension headache.
An increase in blood pressure may even cause a headache. It can also cause changes in the blood vessels in the head.
Stress can even be a significant trigger for those prone to migraine headaches. Being stressed can also lower the pain-tolerance threshold. This can make a minor headache feel worse, which can increase stress and cause the headache to worsen further.
Stress may have a significant impact on a person’s weight for a variety of reasons. Long-term stress can lower a person’s metabolism. This can decrease the body’s ability to process calories and increase fat production, even with the same diet and exercise routine before stress began.
Those who lack healthy coping habits may resort to comfort foods for relief. Easy to make meals, fast food, greasy, or sugary foods can often bring comfort in difficult times. Unfortunately, these types of foods often contain very little nutrients compared to their calorie content. This can increase weight.
The lack of sleep, headache, and other stress issues can also cause a person to feel tired and lack motivation. This can reduce their ability to exercise regularly. Lack of exercise limits the body’s ability to burn off extra calories and contribute to the weight gain caused by stress.
Mental Health Issues
Prolonged stress can also have severe effects on a person’s mental health. Problems, such as depression, anxiety, and some personality disorders, have been linked to high-stress levels for extended periods.
The body’s reaction when under stress is supposed to be a short-term response to deal with the specific situation. Unfortunately, when this response is continuous for long periods, it can seriously affect the body’s ability to return to normal.
This inability to return to normal, in conjunction with the other effects of stress, can significantly impact a person’s mental health. It can become impossible for them to deal with everyday interactions or even daily tasks.
Each of the consequences of stress can create more stress in a person’s life. They can even build on each other and create serious health issues. It is essential to take steps to relieve stress and not to let it build over long periods.
A healthy diet and proper exercise are very beneficial in relieving stress and preventing some of the health problems associated with stress. However, if stress control is not working or the symptoms seem to persist, it’s a good idea to contact a doctor to help identify methods to help reduce stress and prevent these health risks.