It’s not secret stress is apart of everyone’s life. Stress is what keeps us going at times of crisis. Our bodies go into a fight-or-flight mode, or in simpler terms, it fuels our adrenaline. Ironically, some of the benefits of stress include boosting our memory and enhanced child development. While stress does have its advantages, too much stress can wreak havoc on your health. Minor health problems caused by stress include headaches, nausea, and gastrointestinal upset. However, stress is a substantial contributing factor to other major diseases and ailments. Read on to learn about the most common stress-related illnesses and ways to correct them.
Obesity is the excess accumulation of fat throughout the body. If left untreated type, being obese can cause a lot of health issues. Living under constant stress just adds insult to injury and makes it difficult to lose weight. Individuals who are obese and ongoing stress are at higher risk of suffering a heart attack and stroke. Thankfully, losing excess weight is possible. Eating a well-balanced diet and exercising while learning how to manage stress is the first step. If you continue to hit a roadblock, schedule a visit with your doctor to help get you regimented with your new diet.
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Unfortunately, depression is a serious medical condition that affects every aspect of someone’s life. Being clinically depressed runs far deeper than only feeling sad or blue. Although not inclusive, there are specific symptoms that usually help to diagnosis a depressive disorder, which include ongoing feelings of sadness, a loss of interest in hobbies, changes in appetite, weight loss or gain, feelings of hopelessness, difficulty processing information, and suicidal thoughts. As you can see, this can be quite detrimental to a person’s health. Studies have shown to diagnose someone with depression or a similar illness, the symptoms have to last at least two weeks.
Unfortunately, too much stress or chronic stress can lead to major depression in some individuals, as both types of stress lead to overactivity of the body’s stress-response mechanism. Specifically, chronic stress causes elevated hormones within the body, such as cortisol or the ‘stress hormone,’ and reduces levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are ‘happy’ hormones that help regulate an individual’s mood. Basically, when the stress response fails to turn off or reset after a difficult situation has passed, it can lead to bouts of depression in some patients.
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This disease can present in multiple forms or types. As a whole, it is a disease that impairs the body’s ability to produce insulin, which results in an abnormal metabolism and increased levels of glucose in the blood and urine. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces little to no insulin. It is more common in children. The symptoms include frequent urination, hunger, and thirst. Type 2 diabetes affects the whole body and how it processes blood sugar. Symptoms include frequent hunger, thirst, and blurred vision. Stress does not cause abnormally high or low blood sugars, but it can affect the way a patient manages the disease.
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Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia, negatively affects a person’s memory. This disease can start to occur before the age of sixty-five, making the symptoms appear as early as forty to fifty years old. The symptoms usually present themselves as memory loss and frequent confusion. Unfortunately, there is no cure, though it is somewhat treatable. Although stress does not cause Alzheimer’s disease, living with constant stress can cause memory loss. Doctors have warned constant stress and anxiety can damage certain areas of the brain, which control reasoning, emotional responses, and memory. All of these factors can lead someone to depression and eventually, Alzheimer’s-like symptoms.
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Heart disease has many forms ranging from high blood pressure, cardiac arrest, and arrhythmia. Patients may have heart failure, peripheral artery disease, and congenital heart disease. Cardiovascular disease can also present in many ways, some of which aren’t stereotypical of what you may think. These can include sweating, nausea, persistent heartburn, indigestion, and jaw and neck pain. In relation to stress, more research is necessary for determining how stress contributes to heart disease, but it is known stress can affect an individual’s behaviors and certain factors increase the risk of heart disease, such as high cholesterol and blood pressure, smoking, physical inactivity, and overeating. Unfortunately, some individuals may choose to drink alcohol excessively or smoke as a way to manage their chronic stress, which are both main causes of heart disease and can damage artery walls within the heart.
In a perfect world, living stress-free can prevent many diseases. However, learning how to manage stress appropriately also reduces the ill-effects stress can cause. Knowing when to seek assistance is the first step to warding off potentially life-threatening diseases.