Stress and Health Consequences

Stress and Health Consequences

Do you often suffer from aches and pains and attribute it to bad posture?

Or do you have a stomach upset and are quick to blame it on the spicy you ate?

Pain in the neck is the result of the unfriendly chairs at your workplace,

while you constantly feel tired and fatigued because of work pressures.

If you always have a readymade excuse for your ailments, you are way off the mark.

Don’t blame your health-related problems on the office or your posture.

It is the stress that is slowly robbing you of good health.

Today, stress is the biggest killer of the millennium, dethroning deadly diseases such as heart attack to second place.

Excessive stress over a long period can cause several physiological disorders

that can drain your mental and physical resources.

Prolonged stress can make you prone to major health disorders,

which can be life-threatening, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes or cancer.

An estimated 50-80% of all diseases are stress-related.

This blog presents a specific list of diseases that cover you from head to toe and are stress-induced.

So, watch out!

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Tension Headache and Migraine

You’ve swallowed pills, tried all kinds of balms and even had a massage, but to no avail. That throbbing in your head just won’t go away.

If that’s the case, then you better sit up and take note. You are suffering from stress-related headaches and migraines. When the muscles around the head remain tense for some time, they may cause a headache. The contradiction of muscles in the scalp, neck and forehead causes tension headache, while a migraine is felt as a throbbing headache. Often associated with nausea or vomiting, these occur due to abnormal blood flow in the blood vessels of the head.

Hypertension (high blood pressure)

It is unfortunate but true that stress and high blood pressure have become synonymous today.

The frenetic pace of work, meetings, deadlines, travelling, having to make split-second decisions all extract the maximum from the individual.

This is often reflected by an increase in blood pressure.

Chronic Fatigue

A persistent feeling of fatigue and tiredness is the commonest symptom of stress.

Fatigue is a feeling of not having adequate energy to carry on, a strong desire to rest, sleep or stop all activity.

This can develop due to physical or mental exertion and drain you of all your energy.

Diabetes Mellitus

The development of insulin resistance has associated with Chronic stress, a condition where the human body is unable to use insulin effectively to regulate glucose (blood sugar). Since diabetes means rigid dietary and medical control, it adds to stress that is often beyond the individual's coping and adaptive capabilities.

Muscular Skeletal Problems

Chronic pains as caused by arthritis and other conditions may be intensified by stress to such an extent that they become incapacitating.

Sleep Disorders

Excessive stress can manifest itself as insomnia, where a person has difficulty falling asleep.

Or in the reverse case, where the individual may prefer to sleep excessively to avoid tension.

Weight Problems

Stress can have varying effects on your appetite and weight.

Some people may suffer from a loss of appetite and lose weight,

while others may develop cravings for food and sugar to counteract tension and in the process gain weight.

In rare cases,

Stress may trigger the excessive activity of the thyroid gland causing your body to burn up calories faster than the normal rate.

Coronary Artery Disease

Sustained blood pressure is one of the many causes that strain the heart and contributes to the hardening of the arteries.

Besides, the heart is unable to receive sufficient oxygen for its demands.

Any stress, mental or physical, that you have can trigger off angina, a stroke or a heart attack.

Palpitations and Paroxysmal Tachycardia

Palpitations are defined as ‘abnormal awareness of one’s heartbeat.’

A normal heartbeat ranges between 60-80 beats per minute.

But during mental or physical exertion the rate may rise to 180 beats per minute.

Those who are stressed may feel a rapid pounding of the heart occurring suddenly,

due to no apparent reason, or may even feel a skipped beat.

Peptic Ulcer

Believe it or not, but stress can also cause peptic ulcers.

Normally the microns layer secreted by the stomach protects the inner lining of the stomach,

the oesophagus (the food pipe) and the first position of the small intestine.

Stress can cause this inner lining to be eroded

by excessive production of digestive acid, and diminished production of the microns.

Thus, the individual will experience sharp bouts of sudden pain

when the acid comes in contact with the eroded lining.

Allergic Reactions

Allergy is the body’s reaction to substances to which it is sensitive.

Exposure to these substances produce reactions which could be

a skin rash, itching, bleeding, vomiting, inflammation, or crusting of the skin or even a running nose.

Even though stress does not directly cause allergy, it can trigger off an allergic reaction.

Bronchial Asthma

This is an allergic reaction whereby there are recurrent attacks of shortness of breath

and wheezing due to the narrowing of the airways and contractions of the lungs.

Stress asthma is a well-known entity caused either by physical or mental stress.

This can be further aggravated by physical exercise such as playing or studying for examinations.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

These stress-induced disorders can take two forms:

Mucous Colitis:

Here there is an excess secretion of microns

and a spasm in the colon that results in constipation and/ or diarrhoea with the passage of microns.

Ulcerative colitis:

Here there is a chronic development of scores in the colon which may result in cramping abdominal pain and bleeding.

Alcoholism and Drug Addiction

Those who cannot cope with acute stress tend to seek refuge in alcohol or drugs,

which instead of helping them ends up further compounding their problems.

Stress could also lead to other health consequences

such as Enuresis or bedwetting at night, impotence, anxiety, depression and phobias.

So, the next time you have either of these problems, chances are that you are suffering from stress.

It’s time you learnt how to manage and control your stress before you are the next victim.

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