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How Chronic Stress Affects your Health

How Chronic Stress Affects your Health

Stress & Your Health

Whether you're a parent, student, work full time, or you're a homemaker—the chances are that you've experienced a spike in your stress levels. Although it is completely normal to experience heightened levels of stress every now and then, too much stress can wreak havoc on various areas of your health and wellness.

Understanding Chronic Stress

Stress is your body’s natural response to external stimuli that bring on emotional or physical tension. During this response, your body releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline to help protect you from potentially dangerous situations. However, stress becomes chronic stress when it lasts for several weeks or even months.

Physical Health

Chronic stress can hinder various parts of your body from functioning properly. High levels of stress leave you more susceptible to the following physical health issues:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Heart disease
  • Sleep disorders
  • Ulcers
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Digestion issues
  • Headaches
  • Migraines

Mental Health

Just like your physical health, heightened stress levels can also negatively impact your mental and emotional wellbeing. For those living with mental illnesses, chronic stress can exacerbate symptoms and for others, it can increase your risk for developing mental health issues.

Chronic stress can increase your risk of the following mental health problems as well as others:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Memory issues
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble with mood regulation

If you find that you're struggling with managing your stress levels, be sure to speak with your primary care doctor or your mental health care team.