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Physical Effects of Stress on the Body

May 1, 2014

Stress is the state of mental or emotional strain resulting from demanding situations. Stress can come in any form and can be good and bad. What you may not always think about is the physical toll stress has on the body. Long term stress effects a number of body systems and can lead to chronic disease.
When dealing with a stressful situation your brain will react by making you moody, angry, depressed, irritable, and can lower your energy level. It can also cause you to lose focus, be anxious, and panicky. Your heart also responds with increased blood pressure, rapid heart beat, and higher cholesterol. These conditions creates a higher risk of heart attack or stroke.
Stress also takes a huge toll on your digestive system. If too stressed you may experience stomach cramps, inflamed bowels, IBS, and acid reflux. This leads to decreased nutrient absorption, a reduced metabolism, and weight fluctuations. Reducing your stress levels will help you control your weight especially if you gain or lose weight very easily.
The physiology of stress has a lot to do with hormones, and Cortisol is a major contributor. Insulin secretions significantly increase during prolonged stress and long term this may lead to diabetes and definitely can cause weight gain. When stressed, sex hormones are decreasing and dampening your sex drive, and fertility. Another major side effect of elevated stress hormones is a suppressed immune system and widespread inflammation. Being stressed will make it easier to get sick, harder to get pregnant and harder to lose weight.
The main message here is that reducing your stress level is good for your health. Coping mechanisms can help you deal with the stressful situations more effectively. Personal stress relief can come from anything that makes you happy as long as it isn't something that is harmful to your health such as alcohol or smoking. The preferred method is exercise which just so happens to be great for your health regardless of stress. Exercise can help improve all the functions of the body and does not have to be strenuous in order to receive the benefits.


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