15 Ways Stress Can Affect Your Health
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Health and Wellness

15 Ways Stress Can Affect Your Health

It's not just in your head.

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15 Ways Stress Can Affect Your Health

Stress- We all have experienced it at one time or another. Be it from work, school, family matters, or even traffic; we get physical signs of stress all the time. Sometimes it's just a dull headache that turns into a full-blown migraine, while other times it causes more long-term problems. Here are some things that can happen to your body that can be attributed to stress.

1. Cravings- During times of stress, our bodies release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is linked to cravings of sugars and fats. So, yes, there is a physical reason for your urge to eat a tub of ice cream after a hard day. (A good way to curb the cravings for bad snacks, is to keep some healthy ones stocked up!)

2. Weight Gain/Loss- Essentially, the stress hormone Cortisol can cause you to crave unhealthy snacks, and it can cause fat cells to enlarge and stick around in your body. Stress can also reduce appetite for some people, and cause unhealthy weight loss in the long-term.

3. Heart Problems- The more stress that your body is under, the harder your heart has to work. Numerous studies have shown that the more stressed out you stay, the more likely you are the have a heart attack at a younger age.

4. Headaches- The most common physical ailment caused by stress is unarguably the headache. Chemicals like adrenaline can cause headaches and migraines due to vascular changes that happen either during the stress or during the "come down" period.

5. Sleep Habits- Short-term stress can cause sleeplessness, but long term stress can actually disrupt your sleep patterns and even cause a disorder.

6. Hair Loss- If you take pride in your locks, chill out! Stress can actually cause hair loss by affecting your autoimmune system. Some people with severe anxiety can actually end up with a disorder than causes you to begin pulling your own hair out on an impulse.

7. Digestion- Stress can cause indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, and cramps. If you already have a condition that causes stomach issues, stress is a quick way to cause them to flare up.

8. Back Pains- The "Fight or Flight" response causes your muscles to tense up; long term stress can cause chronic pain.

9. Stroke- Even if you are generally a healthy individual, a stressful event can make you more likely to have a stroke within the next year.

10. Asthma- High levels of stress can cause asthma to flare up and make you more sensitive to allergens and other triggers.

11. Blood Pressure- While it is unclear if long-term stress can cause chronic blood pressure issues, temporary blood pressure elevation is common during and after a major stressful event. This is caused by constricting blood vessels and an elevated heart rate.

12. Depression- Consistently being under a lot of stress can cause you to become irritable and depressed. Stress can cause you to feel trapped or backed into a corner, which can contribute to other mental health issues.

13. Immune System Problems- Stress wears you down both physically and mentally, and can make you more vulnerable to illness. Being stressed out for long periods of time can affect your sleep, appetite, and other aspects of your health.

14. Lowered Libido- Stress directly affects hormones, which in turn, affect sex drive. The best way to counteract this lack of libido is to try and rest and relax to let your mind slow down. Partake in other activities that you enjoy to get the good hormones flowing again.

15. Jaw, Teeth, and Gum Pain- Many of us clench our jaws or grind our teeth when we are stressed out or upset. If done frequently, this can cause damage to the gums and teeth.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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