The body’s stress mechanism is meant for protection. The stress reaction prepares the body for action against perceived threats, both internal and external. This happens when the body releases stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, which in turn increase the amount of glucose and energy flow in the blood stream as well as increased heart rate and blood pressure in response to the event. However, this situation gets out of hand if this reaction persists even when there is no danger.

What happens when you are under stress?

A number of processes come into effect when you are under stress:

-You breathe faster.

-Your heart rate increases.

-You might find yourself sweating or having a dry mouth.

-Your adrenaline levels rise.

-Your muscles tense.

Health problems caused by stress

Excessive stress can have far-reaching effects on the body and leads to many stress-related health problems in the body. These problems may include:

-Heart problems and cardiovascular diseases: Increased blood pressure and heart rate increases the release of triglycerides and cholesterol into the blood and is known to cause stroke and heart attack and can sometimes lead to obesity, further increasing the risks.

-Insomnia: This is generally a difficulty in going to sleep and getting off. This condition has also been linked to heart failure and many accidents. Meditation and hypnotherapy can be used to treat this.

-Headaches: Stress triggers migraines and tension headaches. These can be very harmful if they persist.

-Drug abuse and over-eating: As a way of coping with stress, some people start taking drugs and over-indulging in excessive eating habits. This may lead to addiction and more stress which in turn amplifies the problem.

-Anxiety and depression: A feeling of hopelessness and excess worrying causes anxiety and depression. This can greatly decrease a person’s ability to concentrate and also impair memory capacity. This situation can be tackled through talking therapies whereby the person shares his or her fears with a professional medical practitioner.

-Diabetes: Stress increases the likelihood of unhealthy eating routines and drug abuse especially over-drinking. Over-eating increases the glucose level in the blood stream. Furthermore, stress alone has been found to automatically increase glucose levels for people with type-2 diabetes. This causes diabetes for those who don’t have it and worsens it for those already battling the disease.

-Digestive problems: Some tummy problems like stomachache and nausea have no direct cause and are often stress related. The person begins to manifest the symptoms by cramps, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. This can cause anxiety. This condition is treatable by adapting a suitable diet.

-Pre-mature aging and death: It has been noted that stress causes a particular part of the human DNA chromosomes to manifest a higher rate of aging. Stress can accelerate a person’s aging by years and also increases the risk of death to people under intense stress.

-Inflammation: Increased release of stress hormones can worsen conditions like psoriasis, eczema, arthritis, Crohn’s disease and skin rash. It can also cause acne. This inflammation can also negatively impact the immune system which is responsible for fighting off infections. This can render the body defenseless and lead to infections by opportunistic diseases.

-Hair loss(Alopecia): This may happen if when the person is committed to a good diet. This comes as a result of the acceleration of the overall aging process caused by high stress levels. The hair thin out and can even cause baldness. However, this condition is reversible when the stress factor is dealt with.

Stress is a condition that should be avoided. You should try to stay away from stressful situations that may have adverse effects on your health.

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