Yes, stress affects health. How does stress affect your overall health?
This is not an easy question to answer as there has been much discussion and disagreement over the years from experts as to exactly what diseases etc are directly caused by stress.
However an increasing number of experts do now agree that the mind and the body are interrelated and so stress can contribute if not directly cause physical illness.
Unfortunately illness also causes stress and so the cycle of stress – illness –stress –illness begins.
This never ending circle puts considerable pressure on the body and over time these pressures can cause more serious damage and consequently more serious illness.
One way that stress affects health long term is the suppression of the immune system. This is caused by the constant release of the stress hormone cortisol into the blood stream, which causes several adverse affects.
It decreases the number of certain circulating blood cells which help to fight infection, as well as causing the thymus and lymph nodes to shrivel and reduces the production of antibodies.
A weaken immune system means that you are not as able to fight infections and heal wounds as effectively as you once did.
So the first answer to the question of how stress affects health:
Ever had that funny feeling when you have drunk to many cups of coffee, where you feel as if your heart is fluttering? Well that is your heart reacting to a form of stress.
Excessive stress can affect your cardiovascular system in a more dramatic ways than just the odd flutter. It is believed that stress now plays a part in high blood pressure, which in turn damages the heart. Also some of the stress hormones such as cortisol released into your system over time can cause constricted blood vessels. So when you find yourself in a stressful situation and your body responds by working your heart harder, the blood can’t get through and then……
Being stressed also makes you behave in ways which in the long run will affect your hearts health. Many stressed people say that they eat comfort foods when they are feeling stressed. Unfortunately comfort eating often means eating food which is high in fat, high in sugar and low in fibre. This diet is guaranteed to clog those arteries and so make you more prone to heart attacks.
Stress and our response to it both mentally and physically over a long period of time can lead to many other associated illness and disorders, some very serious indeed. This web site is not designed to blind you with science and facts about how exactly stress causes these problems; it is more to make you aware that these issues can become a problem in your life if stress is left untreated or unmanaged.
Here is a little sample of just a few of the other possible health problems stress can be associated with:
In conclusion the answer to the question of how stress affects health is not a simple one nor is it a straight forward one. One thing leads to another and this chemical reaction causes other knock on symptoms to occur which in the long run causes your body systems to burnout and break down. Stress is certainly the hidden danger factor in our lives.Stress Relief WS › Definition of Stress › Stress Affects Health