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10 Ways Stress Can Affect Physical Health

May 7, 2018

10 Ways Stress Can Affect Physical Health

For some time now it’s been known that stress can have a detrimental impact on the human body. Unfortunately, most people regularly suffer from stress. Apparently seven in ten people in North America regularly deal with significant stress and its physical effects.
Stress and anxiety can be seen in many different parts of the body. Being able to identify how stress is affecting your physical health can help you identify the problem and make necessary changes.

1. Headaches
For many people, times of stress mean frequent headaches. Experts find that stress often leads to tension headaches, which are caused when muscles in the upper back and neck tense up. The end result can be contracting scalp muscles and painful headaches.

Consistent anxiety can also lead to painful migraine headaches, which are tough to get rid of and can last for hours, even days. To reduce tension headaches, in addition to chiropractic treatment, patients can be encouraged to be more active or engage in relaxing activities, such as getting a massage or taking a warm bath.

2. Depression
Consistently dealing with stress can lead one to feel angry, depressed and even hopeless. Over time, stress can lead one to feel like they’re trapped, leaving them unable to make decisions and becoming worried about all matters, whether professional or personal. Eventually, stress can lead one to feel burnt out and this can have the effect of exacerbating the matter by hurting personal and professional relationships.

To counteract the way stress affects your mood, engage in activities that help you forget the source of stress, such as physical activity or extroverting your attention. You can try activities that keep you mentally occupied for an extended period of time.

3. Weight and Metabolism
Stress and weight problems often go hand in hand. That’s because feeling stressed, anxious and depressed can cause one to search for relief in food and that often means “comfort” or unhealthy foods that are high in sugar and calories.

Additionally, stress can have a detrimental effect on metabolism. Specifically, it can cause our bodies to store more fat, only exacerbating feelings of anxiety. Staying active can help the problem by keeping you occupied, burning calories and restoring confidence.

4. Blood Pressure Problems
Those who experience stress for prolonged periods of time may find themselves facing significant health problems like high blood pressure. That’s because stress hormones can increase the activity of the heart and, over time, this can lead to constricted arteries.

If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to heart attack and stroke, both of which can be fatal. If you start to experience consistent chest pain, get an examination immediately and search for ways to begin reducing your stress.

5. Hair Loss
Hair loss is often associated with middle aged men, but it can actually occur in women as well. Hair loss can be the result of consistent and intense stress and it can affect anyone at any stage of life. And, because of society’s never-ending love affair with hair and its appearance, hair loss typically heightens stress levels, resulting in a vicious cycle of anxiety and depression.

The good news is that there are ways to restore hair. The first step, of course, is identifying the source of stress and dealing with it. There are many methods of treatments that can help encourage hair growth.

6. Lowered Immunity
Being under stress for an extended period of time can weaken the immune system and make you more vulnerable to ailments, from minor conditions like a head cold to more serious issues, like influenza. These conditions can make it more difficult to keep up with the demands of daily life, from going to work to looking after children.

To help counteract the effects of stress, get quality sleep, follow a healthy diet consisting of lots of fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains, and exercise regularly. If you find yourself frequently falling ill, contact Lawrence Health Wellness Clinic to see how you can address the source of stress or any other health matter that could be causing you to feel sick.

7. Stomach Ache
Experience stress for enough time and you’ll start to feel pain and irritability in the stomach, intestines and other parts of the gastrointestinal system. That can make eating, sleeping, working or exercising difficult, maybe even impossible to do.

Stomach pain accompanies stress because, when we feel anxious and stressed out, our body releases adrenaline and hormones that can drive blood away from our gastrointestinal system and towards other parts of the body. This can have the effect of impeding effective digestion, leading to pain and discomfort.

8. Insomnia
We’ve all been there. Feeling stress with personal relationships or events at work, we lay awake in our beds at night, unable to fall asleep. It can be one of the most frustrating experiences, and for some people, it can take place every night for weeks, months or years.

Stress often makes it difficult to get a good night’s sleep because it causes the mind to continue working when it should be shutting down.

Unfortunately, that can only intensify our stress and make it even tougher to relax and fall asleep. Medications are hardly a proper solution as they often initiate side effects or cause other problems. There are many natural solutions available, either in supplement form or in relaxation techniques that can make it easier to get rest naturally.

9. Lowered Libido
When stress spikes, sex drive often suffers. That’s because stress can have a direct impact on hormone levels, making it very difficult for a man or woman to become sexually aroused. In effect, feeling overwhelmed and anxious about life causes us to focus on that alone and that leaves little room for reproduction.

Relaxation techniques and physical exercise can help counteract the effects of stress. So, too, can activities that give you joy and help restore feelings of satisfaction, happiness and confidence.

10. Jaw Pain
Ever catch yourself clenching your teeth when caught in a stressful situation? You’re not alone. Stress often causes people to clench their jaw, and gnash and grind their teeth, and if done frequently enough, this can lead to gum recession, fractured teeth and lots of pain.

For some, the matter can have long-term effects on the jaw and teeth. If this is the case, a dentist may prescribe a mouth guard to be used at night. Typically, the mouth guard only needs to be worn temporarily, but it may also be required when working, playing sports or driving; in other words, during activities that can heighten stress levels.

Contact Lawrence health Wellness Clinic at 519-746-4144 for an exam and assessment of any stress symptoms you may be experiencing to help you get on the road to a happier and healthy life.