How does stress affect your body?

We have all felt the impact of stress on our body one time or another whether we realized it or not. The Oxford dictionary defines “stress” as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. Below you will find a few examples of ways stress impacts your body.

Your Immune System

People under chronic stress are more susceptible to viral illnesses like influenza and the common cold. It increases risk of other opportunistic diseases and infections. It can also increase the time it takes to recover from illness or injury.

Your Muscular System

Under stress, your muscles tense up to protect themselves from injury. You’ve probably felt your muscles tighten up and release again once you relax. If you’re constantly under stress, your muscles don’t get the chance to relax. Tight muscles cause headaches, back and shoulder pain, and body aches.

Your Digestive System

Stress causes your liver to produce extra blood sugar (glucose) to give you a boost of energy. Unused blood sugar is reabsorbed by the body. If you’re under chronic stress, your body may not be able to keep up with this extra glucose surge, and you may be at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) lists common reactions to a stressful event as:

  • Disbelief and shock
  • Tension and irritability
  • Fear and anxiety about the future
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Feeling numb
  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nightmares and recurring thoughts about the event
  • Anger
  • Increased use of alcohol and drugs
  • Sadness and other symptoms of depression
  • Feeling powerless
  • Sleep problems
  • Headaches, back pains, and stomach problems
  • Trouble concentrating

Make sure you take time for yourself one in a while to avoid stress and figure out what works for you to relieve stress. If you believe that you are suffering from these symptoms, consult with your physician or call Cornerstone Family Healthcare at (845) 563-8000 to make an appointment today.

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