Friday, December 20, 2013

How Stress Affects Your Body - Know How

You probably already know that you can experience stress from your environment, your body, and your thoughts. Stress is a very normal part of life, but that doesn’t mean we have to let it harm us.

Constantly feeling under pressure, overwhelmed, anxious, and totally frazzled can add up to a condition called distress, which can lead to physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping.

Stress symptoms may be affecting your health, even though you may not realize it, the body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses.

There are many ways in which stress can show up, so it is good to learn them in order to recognize it and treat it right away.

Cravings: Cortisol, a hormone released during times of stress leads to cravings for sugar and fat.

Fat storage: You can clearly correlate stress to weight gain, the stress hormone cortisol may also increase the amount of fat tissue your body hangs onto and enlarge the size of fat cells.

Insomnia: Stress can cause hyper-arousal, a biological state in which people just don’t feel sleepy.

Headaches: Chemicals like adrenaline (epinephrine) and cortisol can cause vascular changes that leave you with atension headache or migraine, either during the stress or in the let-down period afterward.

Memory loss: Too much of the stress hormone cortisol can interfere with the brain’s ability to form new memories.

Blood sugar: Stress is known to raise blood sugar, and if you already have type 2 diabetes you may find that your blood sugar is higher when you are under stress.
Digestion: Heartburn, stomach cramping, and diarrhea can all be caused by or worsened by stress.

Back pain: Stress can set off an acute attack of back pain as well as contribute to ongoing chronic pain.

Asthma: Stress exacerbates asthma in people who have it.

Sex drive: People who are stressed out have less sex and enjoy it less when they do have it compared to people who aren’t under stress.

Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can give you a jump on managing your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior.


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