12 Harmful Effects of Stress

By | May 28, 2017
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In today’s world, it is simply not possible to avoid stress, but it all comes down to how you manage stress on a daily basis. It is natural to feel stressed out when managing your financing, disciplining your kids, or even dealing with a difficult relationship. If you do not manage it properly, stress can cause many problems, both physically and mentally. Let’s find out more about it.

Effects of Stress

Stress can hurt you in more ways than you can imagine. Stress can cause many side effects, mentally and physically. Here are some possible issues associated with constant stress.

1. It Affects Your Sleep

Stress can put you in a hyper-arousal state and make it difficult for you to feel sleepy. Overtime, this can lead to insomnia and cause all sorts of problems. With sleep deprivation, it will be extremely difficult to deal with your stress and you will be entangled in a vicious cycle.

2. It Causes Headaches

It is common to experience tension headaches when your body is teeming with “fight or flight” hormones, mainly cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones can cause vascular changes that will lead to migraines and tension headaches. If you are already suffering from a migraine attack, stress can aggravate it further by tensing your muscles.

3. It Affects Your Memory

Wondering what the effects of stress may be? Your brain’s ability to form new memories is greatly compromised with too much of cortisol in your body. The hormone can also disrupt the activity of neurotransmitters. This in turn makes it hard to retrieve memories. That also explains why many people cannot think straight when they are dealing with acute stress. Moreover, research shows that chronic stress can greatly affect your ability to concentrate on tasks.

4. It Leads to Hair Loss

Severe stress can lead to hair loss. Some studies show that you are going to lose hair in cases of extreme stress. Some people may develop anxiety disorders, such as Trichotillomania and find it difficult to resist the temptation to pull out their own hair. There is not enough evidence to suggest that stress can also turn your hair gray.

5. It Causes Pregnancy Complications

It is natural to feel stressed during pregnancy, and it is unlikely to affect your overall health, but severe stress like having a bad relationship, dealing with the death of a loved one, etc., can affect your pregnancy. Severe stress can lead to premature labor. There is some evidence suggesting that high levels of stress can disrupt the development of your baby’s brain. It is important to mention that chronic stress can actually lower your chances of becoming pregnant in the first place. Relaxation exercises, yoga, and breathing exercises may help make things manageable.

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6. It Affects Your Blood Sugar Levels

One of many effects of stress is on your blood sugar levels. Your blood sugar levels will go up when you are under stress. Even when you do not have diabetes, there will be a rise in your blood sugar levels when you are under stress. That is mainly due to the release of epinephrine. Regular exercise and attention to your diet may help make things more manageable.

7. It Disturbs Digestion

Not only can you develop digestive issues due to chronic stress, you can make certain digestive problems worse by not doing anything to manage stress. Stomach cramping, heartburn, and diarrhea can all become worse due to stress. Chronic stress may play a role in the development of irritable bowel syndrome that causes bouts of diarrhea and constipation. Stomach ulcers may also be the result of stress.

8. It Leads to Hypertension

Chronic stress can increase your risks of developing hypertension. Even when you are in stress for a short time, it can increase your blood pressure. That temporary spike in blood pressure can also increase your heart rate. Your blood pressure returns to normal when the stress has passed, but that will not happen if you are dealing with chronic stress. Overtime, this can lead to cardiovascular complications.

9. It Causes Acne

There is some evidence confirming that stress can affect your skin and give you zits. It is for this reason that many students experience acne and other skin problems during exams. Some evidence suggests that stress can cause psoriasis. Certain stress-management techniques such as meditation and biofeedback may actually help prevent these issues.

10. It Leads to Back Pain

Back pain is one of many effects of stress. It can make you deal with an acute attack of back pain. This usually happens due to stress hormones that prepare your body to spring into action. Some studies show that people who have stress and anxiety are at a greater risk of developing back pain.

11. It Increases Risk of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia are more common in women, and experts believe that is due to high stress levels in women. Many people develop eating disorders due to low levels of serotonin, which is why certain antidepressant drugs may help here.

12. It Lowers Libido

People who are under stress find it hard to perform well in the bed. Stress can directly affect your libido and make it difficult for you to get in the mood. Moreover, it can lower the production of estrogen that can affect the function of your reproductive system. It can also affect your menstrual cycle and lead to other sexual problems.

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