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effects of stress on your body

Understanding Five Common Effects of Stress on Your Body

Effects of Stress on Your Body, in our modern lives, filled with deadlines, responsibilities, and uncertainties, stress is simply inevitable. It doesn’t matter where you live: even those living the dream here in Bali have to deal with their share of stressors. Stress is just a part of life that can’t be escaped but can be managed.

Now, how well have you been managing your stress? Have you ever wondered if any of the symptoms you have experienced lately are stress-related? In this article, you will find five of the most common effects of stress on your body.

effects of stress on your body

What is Stress?

 Most of us know what stress feels like, but how do experts define stress?

The National Health Services (UK) defines stress as the body’s reaction to feeling threatened or under pressure. When stressed, our body releases adrenaline, often called the ‘fight or flight’ hormone, which boosts us to act quickly.

While stress is a natural human reaction to challenging situations, chronic stress, or a consistent sense of feeling overwhelmed, can cause various physical symptoms, affecting your overall health.

The Following are Some of the Most Common Effects of Stress on Your Body

  1. It can cause muscle pain and tension

 One of the most common physical symptoms of stress is muscle tension and pain. According to the American Psychological Association, muscle tension is almost a reflex reaction to stress or the body’s way of guarding us against injury and pain.

The stress hormones released by our body, like cortisol and adrenaline, can cause muscles to contract and tighten.

As you can imagine, chronic stress causes the muscles in the body to be pretty much constantly rigid. This prolonged muscle tension may lead to other symptoms, such as headaches, neck pain, back pain, and overall bodily discomfort.

  1. It can cause digestive problems

The gut-brain connection is a well-established phenomenon, and stress can disrupt the delicate balance of the digestive system.

An article published by Harvard Health Publishing explains that psychosocial factors influence the actual physiology and symptoms of the gut. It means that stress can affect movement and contractions of the GI tract, leading to symptoms such as indigestion, bloating, abdominal pain, and changes in bowel habits.

Chronic stress has also been linked to more severe conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

  1. It can trigger respiratory issues

 Stress and anxiety can affect our breathing patterns, leading to symptoms such as shortness of breath. The good news is that shortness of breath caused by stress and anxiety is not dangerous.

However, in some cases, stress-induced breathing problems can exacerbate pre-existing respiratory conditions like asthma or emphysema.

Read similar article Embracing a Healthy Lifestyle for a Better You

  1. It can weaken your immune System

 Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, making us more vulnerable to infections and illnesses. Stress hormones like cortisol can suppress the production of immune cells, impairing the body’s ability to fight off pathogens. This can result in frequent colds, flu, and other infections.

  1. It can affect your cardiovascular health

 Stress can have an impact on your heart health. When faced with a stressful situation, the body’s natural response is to increase heart rate and blood pressure to prepare for action. While this ‘fight or flight’ response is beneficial in the short term, chronic stress can contribute to serious problems.

The British Heart Foundation (UK) explains that stress alone would not cause cardiovascular disease. However, the unhealthy habits that come with stress, such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, eating unhealthy comfort food, and physical inactivity, significantly increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Recognizing how stress affects your body and addressing the underlying stressors through healthy coping mechanisms is essential for maintaining optimal health and well-being.

Whether it’s through exercise, mindfulness practices, or seeking support from loved ones, effective stress management can lead to a healthier and happier life.

And, of course, if you believe you might be experiencing chronic stress or any health issues related to stress, please make sure that you consult your GP as soon as possible. Our English-speaking team of excellent doctors at Prime Plus Medical in Canggu is ready to assist you 24/7.

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