Stress is the number one factor that can have a negative influence on our overall health.
When it is present on a long-term basis, it can wreak havoc on mental and emotional health, exacerbating physical problems as well.
Many studies have confirmed the connection between stress and the increased risk of chronic conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and diabetes.
Depression and anxiety are also more common in chronically-stressed individuals.
Keep on reading and discover the conditions which are highly likely to be caused by stress, as well as the solutions to overcome them.
#1 Heart disease
If you are stressed all the time, you are at risk of high blood pressure and heart problems. It is a well-known fact that stress can lead to a higher heart rate, causing the blood to flow faster. This causes all sorts of substances, such as triglycerides and cholesterol to be released into the bloodstream. Moreover, stress is often associated with poor dietary habits and smoking, which further increase the risk for heart disease.
It is also worth mentioning the sudden emotional stress can increase the acute risk for heart disease, especially for the myocardial infarction. What you can do is avoid stress or at least try to become more resilient to it. Do not let your emotions get in the way and attempt to eliminate some of the above-mentioned risk factors.
#2 Brain Fog
Brain fog is generally caused by chronic inflammation and a reduction in mood-positive neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. The main factor involved in the appearance of these problems is chronic stress. It is coupled with the excess release of cortisol, which will help you stay alert and awake. However, cortisol often has counter effects, making matters worse.
People who have suffered from brain injuries and memory loss also deal with such negative consequences. The best thing you can do is be patient and allow your body the necessary amount of time to get back to normal. Try to form a hobby or choose relaxing activities, without placing too much pressure on yourself. Talk to someone about the source of your stress and find solutions to become more resilient.
You might not be aware of this for a fact but chronic stress can aggravate the manifestations of asthma. Interestingly enough, if the expectant mother smokes during her pregnancy, this increases the risk of asthma in the baby. The same risk is valid for the pregnant women who have been exposed to increased and repeated quantities of air pollution.
The stress of the parent is often reflected in the health of the children, which is why stressed our parents are at risk of having asthmatic kids. What you need to do is learn how to relax. Choose activities that are pleasant and try to maintain a balance between work and personal life. Give up smoking, as this habit can only make matters worse. If you live in an area with high levels of pollution, consider changing your residence.
High-levels of stress have been associated with the presence of abdominal fat, which comes with a number of serious risks for the general health. There is a vicious cycle to worry about. When you are stressed, high levels of cortisol are released from the brain. In turn, this causes the accumulation of abdominal weight. As one begins to stress about the excess weight, the cycle is reinforced.
Abdominal fat deposits are considered to be more dangerous for the general health, more than the ones present on the hips or legs. In order to reduce such risks and escape the chronic stress, the first thing you need to do is begin a weight loss program. Concentrate on eating healthy, drink plenty of water and engage in physical exercise. Learn how to control your response to stress and choose relaxing activities as part of your daily schedule.
Chronic stress is most commonly associated with manifestations of both depression and anxiety. In looking for the signs of depression, you have to be aware of the fact that these are often combined with low self-esteem and a feeling of now being appreciated. Depression is related to insufficient satisfaction in the personal or professional life, being followed by anxiety and emotional instability.
The good news is that you do not have to despair, as all of these problems can be successfully handled. The most important thing you can do is address the root of your problems. If you are not satisfied with your job, find another one. If your personal life is not what you expected it to be, make the necessary changes. An active approach is the best way to handle such matters and escape the chronic stress, as well as its consequences.
#6 Gastrointestinal problems
Even though stress is not actually capable of causing an ulcer on its own, this does not mean it cannot make matters worse. If you are already suffering from ulcer, chronic stress will aggravate the subsequent manifestations. There are also many other GI problems associated with stress, such as IBS and GERD.
The best thing you can do is become aware of the sources of stress in your life. Organize a list of solutions for each and every problem, trying to solve them without feeling additionally stressed. You should also pay more attention to your diet, as poor dietary habits often contribute to such problems.
#7 Faster aging
No one wants to think about getting old but this is something we have no control over. What we can do is pay attention to the process and work on slowing down the rate at which it occurs. Chronic stress can accelerate the aging process, especially when you do not actively engage in reducing its presence in your life.
In order to protect yourself against accelerated aging, you need to set some time aside for personal satisfaction. This can include simple activities, such as reading your favorite book, drinking a cup of tea or taking a walk. In case of stress that cannot be so easily relieved, such as taking care of someone who is sick, learn how to become more resilient and focus on the benefits of caring.
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative conditions in the world, affecting millions of people and reducing the overall quality of life. In recent news, it has been determined that chronic stress can aggravate the manifestations of dementia. By leading to inflammation, it accelerates not only the formation of brain lesions but also their progression.
If you are looking to protect yourself against Alzheimer’s disease or any other mental illness, you need to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Choose moments that make you feel better and avoid working too many hours. Relaxing activities can bring the much-needed respite, so you should definitely consider including them in your daily schedule.
You should also talk to a psychotherapist and discover the most efficient ways to become resilient to chronic stress. When you cannot eliminate it from your life, you can at least try to change the ways you respond to its presence.
In conclusion, these are some of the most common conditions caused by stress.
As you have probably experienced on your own, it is simple to get caught up in a vicious cycle and end up suffering, both mentally and physically.
The solution is to reduce the amount of stress in your life and when this is not possible, to adapt yourself to the situation and show increased stress resilience. Always try to maintain a balance between the personal and professional life, as this is the key to healthy living. And, remember, you are in control of your own life!
Ella James is an independent researcher and writer. She has contributed to many online websites related to general health and fitness. Her interests include reading and writing about day-to-day health, fitness, and skin care problems. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.