Stress is definitely the buzzword of our days and it has taken on many different meanings and uses. To some people, stress describes the frantic pace of everyday life. To others, stress is what you feel during times of conflict, loss or illness. People react to stress differently, too. Some take it in their stride and seem to thrive on it, while others buckle under relatively mild pressure.
In strictly medical terms, stress is your body?s physical reactions to change, and it is not always bad. It is the so-called “fight-or-flight” response that has been with us since the earliest human times. The response comes to a change that the body perceives as a potential threat. In early humans, for example, stress helped people respond to life-threatening situations, such as man-eating animals.
Your stress response might help you catch yourself if you trip, or steer your car to avoid a crash. But today?s stress, especially when caused by psychological or emotional factors, can be prolonged and can have damaging effects on your health.
Health Effects of Stress
- Stress can cause sleep problems, leaving you fatigued and vulnerable to accidents and illness.
- It can cause anxiety, nervousness and irritability, making it difficult to get along with people.
- Stress can affect your concentration, making you perform poorly at school or on the job.
- Stress can cause weight gain or weight loss.
- Stress seems to weaken the immune system, making you more vulnerable to colds and other diseases, possibly even some types of cancer.
- Stress can spur you to abandon healthy habits, such as exercising and eating well, which may in turn create other health problems.
- Stress may not actually cause digestive problems, but it can be a contributing factor that makes them worse.
- Stress is also an important contributing factor in many conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, headaches, arthritis and even menstrual disorders.
These are concrete physical effects of stress, but they may be caused by stress that is either real or perceived. What that means is that people sometimes create unnecessary stress for themselves by worrying and fretting more than they should.
The information contained in or made available through This Site cannot replace or substitute for the services of trained professionals in the medical field. We do not recommend any treatment, drug, food or supplement. You should regularly consult a doctor in all matters relating to physical or mental health, particularly concerning any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.