Stress and anxiety seem to have become a part of our everyday life, regardless of our professions, lifestyle, where we live or how much money we make. While some people are able to deal with stress and keep their spirits up no matter what, a majority of us tend to succumb to the pressures of work and family, which only aggravates the problem of stress and makes it permeate eve deeper into other aspects of our lives.
Indeed, some amount of stress may be inevitable and may even do us good by keeping us on our toes; however, extreme stress caused by reasons that are often beyond one’s control not only affects a person’s mental health but can have severe consequences for their physical well-being. From hypertension to weight gain, stress is the root cause of a number of health conditions, five of which are discussed below.
Everyone has their own method of coping with chronic stress. Many people, despite knowing the adverse effects of being overweight, fall prey to the habit of overeating and junk snacking to deal with stress and anxiety. The feeling of calmness and satiation that comes with eating provides temporary relief and thus begins the never-ending cycle of feeling stressed, eating, and gaining weight, which is very hard to break unless one consciously decides to deal with the underlying problem and improve their lifestyle.
Moreover, obesity itself is the root of numerous health problems, including diabetes, hypertension, liver and kidney disease and mobility issues. Therefore, what begins with mild stress can intensify into severe health problems if not dealt with early and aggressively.
Perhaps the scariest impact of chronic stress—and one that is most likely to go undetected—is on the structure of the brain and its functions. Leading neuroscientists have found that long-term stress alters the shape of the brain as well as the way it works. To be specific, researcher have found that large amounts of the stress hormone, cortisol, can cause the brain to shrink, particularly the areas known as the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus.
Additionally, chronic stress is often a precursor for bigger mental health issues such as depression, chronic anxiety, and even Alzheimer’s.
Often, people find it hard to believe that making friends with stress can affect completely unrelated body systems. However, physical and mental wellbeing are two sides of a coin and when one becomes affected, the other is bound to suffer. Heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol and atherosclerosis are common outcomes of prolonged untreated stress. Therefore, any form of stress that’s manifesting itself in physical symptoms and affecting your general health should not be taken lightly and should be dealt with head on.
Chronic stress has been long associated with causing sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction, which refers to the inability to have or sustain an erection. This affects a man’s sexual performance and thereby triggers even more stress and anxiety.
While several medical factors can cause erectile dysfunction in men, including obesity, aging, blood pressure medication, diabetes and high cholesterol, long-term unresolved stress is known to affect men’s sexual health in a number of ways, leading to frustration, loss of self-confidence, and relationship issues.
In some people, erectile dysfunction can often be treated with changes in diet and lifestyle and regular exercise. Others may need prescription medication such as the much popular Viagra and its counterparts. If you find this medication unaffordable, a great way to make big savings on your prescriptions is by buying a Viagra coupon, which entitles you to discounted prices at pharmacies nationwide.
Yes, chronic stress affects your digestive system too, and if left untreated, it can cause more trouble than a simple case of indigestion or heartburn that can be treated with over-the-counter medication.
Your digestive system and your brain are closely related. In fact, researchers have found that how we feel directly impacts our sensitive digestive system. In trying to cope with stress, the brain releases certain hormones which can disrupt the functioning of the digestive organs, leading us to either skip meals or stuff ourselves with food when we are stressed.
From IBS to stomach ulcers to ulcerative colitis, chronic stress has been linked to a number of digestive conditions. If you frequently feel stressed and often experience acidity, heartburn or indigestion, give it some thought and you may find a strong connection between the two.
Acknowledging the problem of stress and its effects on your body is the first step to getting rid of it for good.