Is your life so stressful that you are getting sick? You know that you have chronic stress when it lasts for weeks, months and even years. Chronic stress adversely affects body immunity and subsequently all biological functions. Your body is unable to defend itself against harmful pathogens and diseases while responding to inflammation and poor general health. Here are eight symptoms of stress and anxiety. You should see a doctor in case it is messing with your health.
‘Tension-type headaches’ have been linked to stress for a long time, but a 2017 study found that instead of higher cortisol levels triggering these headaches, it is caused by overextending yourself when stressed out. This happens if you think only bad things will happen, and you worry too much. If you make a habit of stressing out, it may lead to chronic tension-type headaches.
High Blood Pressure
When you are stressed, your body’s flight-or-flight instincts are heightened. Stress hormones release cortisol that can be controlled naturally. But the real harm it does is to raise your blood pressure. High B.P. over an extended period of time overworks the heart and blocks your arteries. You should monitor your blood pressure at home from time to time, and consult your doctor who can prescribe medication, if necessary. Find out ways to lower BP with lifestyle changes, and learn how to keep it under control.
When your stress gets prolonged, your body responds by producing hunger hormones called glucocorticoids. The response is directly related to weight gain and obesity according to a 2014 study. Stress also makes people target high-calorie foods like desserts and French fries, instead of healthier s and soups. It can get out of hand when you have chronic stress that may lead to diseases.
When your body gets overly stressed, it experiences low-grade inflammation which is an autoimmune response, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac and Raynaud’ disease. This is why you may be young and yet experience joint pains that are aggravated by RA. This is why you need to read up as much as possible about autoimmune diseases.
Gut related autoimmune diseases aside, even daily stressors can trigger your digestive system negatively. Stress hormones will release and impact enzyme activity and nutrient absorption negatively. Research shows even short-term stress often leads to bouts of stomach cramps or diarrhoea.
It is common knowledge that stress is linked to not getting enough rest. But you know you have a chronic stress problem when despite sleeping well, you feel tired all the time. A 2011 study revealed that stress and fatigue go hand in hand. The research concluded that ‘fatigue could be a stress-related disorder, triggered by long-lasting tension’, which is aggravated by poor health and/or socio-economic status.
Fractured or damaged teeth
Some people (unknowingly) grind their teeth during the day and while sleeping at night. A Japanese research team found people who clenched and ground their teeth had elevated levels of stress hormones in their saliva. There are health devices called mouth guards to protect your teeth from them in your sleep.
Acne or Pimples
Cortisol increases the oiliness of your skin. So if you are stressed, even if it’s for the short-term, it will make your skin breakout or aggravate your acne. This is why adults get pimples all of a sudden.
How To Deal With Daily Stress
If stress has started to creep up on you, you can still take charge and reduce it with a few stress management tips:
- Exercise relieves stress by releasing the happiness hormone, cortisol. Go for morning walks or do stress-busting yoga poses.
- Unwind with music, learn to relax by playing with your children, pets or friends often. Take frequent short breaks – maybe a weekend getaway with your loved ones.
- Try one-minute de-stressing techniques whenever you feel stressed out.
- Take an anti-stress supplement if it helps bring you a positive outlook on life.
If you cannot control or reduce your stress and suspect you suffer from chronic stress, consult your doctor or an Ayurveda expert on stress.