How does stress affect the body? (2023)

By Kirstie Ganobsik Health Day Reporter

How does stress affect the body? (1)

(Health Day)

TUESDAY, Apr 4, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Understanding how stress affects your body can be challenging because the answer can depend on your stress level and how long it lasts.

Recent research has shown this, for examplelow to medium stress levelit can actually be good for your ability to learn and apply knowledge. A high level of stress, on the other hand, can have a negative impact on your well-being.working memory.

Likewise, short-term stress can have different effects on your body than long-term stress.

How does stress affect the body when it is temporary or chronic? Here, experts detail the most common physical, mental, and emotional consequences for both, and share some tips on how to manage stress to avoid long-term health problems.

Short-term effects of stress on the body

Psychologist at Cleveland ClinicDra. Susan Albers-Bowlingfound that everyday stressors, such as forgetting to pay a bill or missing the bus to work, tended to result in low to moderate body tension in the short term.

"What happens in the body is our muscles contract, our heart beats faster, and more oxygen enters our lungs to prepare for the stressor," she said at a clinic in Cleveland.Article. “The good news is that the stressors are usually minor. Once the stressor is over, our body returns to its normal resting state.

Dr. Suchita Shaha tutor and examiner of undergraduate primary care at the University of Oxford, explains in aArticlethat short-term stress can also be "acute" when the stressor involves an unexpected crisis, such as a car accident. In these situations, your stress response usually lasts for about two to three days.

In addition to the same physical symptoms you would experience with short-term, low-to-moderate stress, the health effects of intense short-term stress can include:

  • stomachache
  • nausea
  • Headache
  • Anguish
  • irritability and mood swings
  • chest pain
  • want to isolate
  • sleep disorders
  • difficulty breathing
  • fatigue
  • feelings of detachment
  • concentration problem

Long-term effects of stress on the body

"Chronic stressors are things like financial problems and conflicts with family members," says Albers-Bowling.

She noted that with long-term stress, "your body is kicking into this fight-or-flight response and it can't calm itself down. So your body is constantly being flooded with cortisol. That causes inflammation, and that inflammation makes you vulnerable." to chronic diseases.

AfterYale MedicineProlonged stress can increase your risk of developing the following:

  • high blood pressure (high blood pressure)
  • AVC
  • heart disease
  • Depression
  • anxiety disorders
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • obesity
  • metabolic syndrome
  • Addiction, including drugs, alcohol, gambling, or food

Harvard Healthpoints out that chronic stress can also increase the risk of developing several types of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. It does this in part by decreasing activity levels in the regions of the brain that handle high-level thinking tasks.

hold yourstress under controlhelps ensure it doesn't become a long-term issue that affects your health. The good news is that there are several proven methods to help you manage your stress.

One of thesestudiesinvolved almost 20,000 participants and showed that spending 120 minutes a week in nature (but no less) increased people's sense of health and well-being.

"We expect that two hours a week is a realistic goal for many people, especially as you can spread it out over an entire week to benefit from it," says the study's lead author.Mateus Brancosaid after the study was published.

Eating a "rainbow of fruits and vegetables," reducing your sugar intake and avoiding alcohol are all great ways to reduce stress, according to theAmerican Psychological Association(ERA).

Take time to rest and relax

“After periods of big changes, high demand or significant losses, it's important to take a break and rest. Taking time and space to rest often means saying, at least temporarily, 'no' to invitations and requests for help," says Johns Hopkin's stress management expert.Frances Callahanrecently said athe blog.

Disconnect from social (and traditional) media

Like sugar and alcohol, APArecommendeda “food restriction” by the media. This can help reduce the psychological effects of dealing with so many stories that can trigger the stress response.

Know when to ask for help

"If you're having trouble getting to work, or if you have changes in your sleep patterns or appetite, these are signs that your stress levels may be out of control," explained Albers-Bowling.

Your doctor can work with you to create a stress reduction plan that may include medication, stress management techniques, and counseling.

Callahan noted that "Stress is inevitable, but managed well, stress can promote emotional and intellectual growth and resilience as we age."

Copyright © 2023health day. All rights reserved.

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How does stress affect the body? ›

If you're constantly under stress, you can have physical symptoms, such as headaches, an upset stomach, high blood pressure, chest pain, and problems with sex and sleep. Stress can also lead to emotional problems, depression, panic attacks, or other forms of anxiety and worry.

How does the body respond to stress by going? ›

Muscles tense up throughout the body to prepare for responding with action. to the adrenal glands (located above the kidneys). The signal triggers the glands to release stress hormones. These chemicals cause changes to the body to prepare it to fight or run away (the “flight” response).

Can stress make you feel sick? ›

Chronic stress — stress that occurs consistently over a long period of time — can have a negative impact on a person's immune system and physical health. If you are constantly under stress, you may experience physical symptoms such as chest pain, headaches, an upset stomach, trouble sleeping or high blood pressure.

How does stress affect one's emotions and body? ›

Stress will significantly affect your health, both mentally and physically, which will lead to headaches, sleeplessness, and chronic aches and pain in the body. It will also lead to feelings of anxiety and depression and will reduce your energy and productivity levels.

What are the 3 body responses to stress? ›

[18] This syndrome is divided into the alarm reaction stage, resistance stage, and exhaustion stage. The alarm reaction stage refers to the initial symptoms of the body under acute stress and the "fight or flight" response.

What are the three body's response to stress? ›

Selye identified these stages as alarm, resistance, and exhaustion. Understanding these different responses and how they relate to each other may help you cope with stress.

Where is stress stored in the body? ›

The most common areas we tend to hold stress are in the neck, shoulders, hips, hands and feet. Planning one of your stretch sessions around these areas can help calm your mind and calm your body. When we experience stressful situations whether in a moment or over time, we tend to feel tension in the neck.

Can your body shut down from stress? ›

Chronicfatigue, tiredness, and lack of energy.

"When the body cannot handle emotional overload, it simply begins to shut down. And that is often manifested by a sense of extreme tiredness and fatigue," says Kalayjian.

What are 4 signs of stress overload? ›

If you are stressed, you might feel:
  • Irritable, angry, impatient or wound up.
  • Over-burdened or overwhelmed.
  • Anxious, nervous or afraid.
  • Like your thoughts are racing and you can't switch off.
  • Unable to enjoy yourself.
  • Depressed.
  • Uninterested in life.
  • Like you've lost your sense of humour.

What is a symptom of too much stress? ›

Advertising & Sponsorship
On your bodyOn your moodOn your behavior
HeadacheAnxietyOvereating or undereating
Muscle tension or painRestlessnessAngry outbursts
Chest painLack of motivation or focusDrug or alcohol misuse
FatigueFeeling overwhelmedTobacco use
3 more rows

What stress does to your brain? ›

Stress can cause an imbalance of neural circuitry subserving cognition, decision making, anxiety and mood that can increase or decrease expression of those behaviors and behavioral states. This imbalance, in turn, affects systemic physiology via neuroendocrine, autonomic, immune and metabolic mediators.

How do you deal with extreme stress? ›

Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress
  1. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. ...
  2. Take care of yourself. ...
  3. Take care of your body. ...
  4. Make time to unwind. ...
  5. Talk to others. ...
  6. Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations.
  7. Avoid drugs and alcohol.

What hormone is released when a person is stressed? ›

Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain's use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.

How does stress affect the nervous system? ›

The stress response tells the brains to send a signal to the adrenal glands they should release adrenaline. This release can cause high blood pressure, increased blood sugar, or increased heart rate. Cortisol damages the brain as well, as it can kill cells in the hippocampus and age the brain.

Where does stress hurt the most? ›

Stress can cause your muscles to tense up — and over time, that can lead to pain and soreness in virtually any part of the body. The most common stress-related aches and pains are in the neck, back, and shoulders.

What organ is stress? ›

Stress causes the body to release the hormone cortisol, which is produced by the adrenal glands.

What part of the body is the most highly affected caused by stress? ›

Stress hormones affect your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. During the stress response, you breathe faster in an effort to quickly distribute oxygen-rich blood to your body. If you already have a breathing problem like asthma or emphysema, stress can make it even harder to breathe.

What are 5 health effects of stress on the body? ›

Physical symptoms of stress include:
  • Low energy.
  • Headaches.
  • Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea.
  • Aches, pains, and tense muscles.
  • Chest pain and rapid heartbeat.
  • Insomnia.
  • Frequent colds and infections.
  • Loss of sexual desire and/or ability.
Aug 19, 2021

What are my stress red flags? ›

Red flags indicating a potential problem include: changes in eating habits, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, significant mood changes including depression, anxiety, panic or anger, demonstrating violent behaviors or utilizing alcohol, marijuana or prescription drugs to deal with stress.

What is a symptom of too much stress over a long period of time? ›

•A consistent sense of feeling pressured and overwhelmed over a long period of time. •Symptoms include aches and pains, insomnia or weakness, less socialization, unfocused thinking.

What parts of the body are most affected by stress? ›

Stress can cause your muscles to tense up — and over time, that can lead to pain and soreness in virtually any part of the body. The most common stress-related aches and pains are in the neck, back, and shoulders.

What are 4 physical body symptoms of having stress? ›

Physical signs of stress
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Blurred eyesight or sore eyes.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Fatigue.
  • Muscle aches and headaches.
  • Chest pains and high blood pressure.
  • Indigestion or heartburn.

What does toxic stress look like? ›

Examples of toxic stress can include abuse (physical, sexual, emotional), neglect (physical, emotional) and household dysfunction (parental mental illness, domestic violence, parental incarceration).

What does unhealthy stress look like? ›

Bad stress, however, is the kind that wears you out, leaves you jittery and is harmful to your health. Bad stress, or distress, can lead to anxiety, confusion, poor concentration and decreased performance. Bad stress can be short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic).

What organs are affected by stress? ›

Stress hormones affect your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. During the stress response, you breathe faster in an effort to quickly distribute oxygen-rich blood to your body. If you already have a breathing problem like asthma or emphysema, stress can make it even harder to breathe.

What is toxic stress? ›

Toxic stress response:

This is the body's response to lasting and serious stress, without enough support from a caregiver. When a child doesn't get the help he needs, his body can't turn off the stress response normally. This lasting stress can harm a child's body and brain and can cause lifelong health problems.

What is the best medicine for stress? ›

The most common medications to manage symptoms of stress are tranquilizers, beta-blockers, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), among others. Additional treatments may include acupuncture and herbal remedies.
Common types
  • alprazolam (Xanax)
  • clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • lorazepam (Ativan)
  • diazepam (Valium)
Aug 31, 2022


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