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The Effects of Chronic Stress on the Body

By Madhusudhan Tammisetti

Chronic stress harms the body in multiple ways. The domino effect of stress undermines healthy behavior. After a taxing day, people tend to fight stress with a handful of candy bars and some cigarettes. This behavior compounds the problem, and stress affects badly on the body.

Stress has a harmful effect on the heart and overall physical health by pushing blood pressure levels to dizzying heights. It can cause asthma, diabetes, and gastrointestinal disorders. High-stress levels may fasten the aging process.

By contrast, people with low-stress levels tend to be in good health. Stress management may benefit the entire body and keep you healthy.

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease comprises different ailments that affect the heart or blood vessels. Chronic stress plays a role in heart attacks, high blood pressure, and atherosclerosis. Stress can also trigger premature ventricular contractions, palpitations, atrial fibrillation, and a condition of abnormal heartbeats called arrhythmias. People go through intense physical or emotional experiences when their loved ones are in surgery or on the deathbed, which may lead to an uncommon condition called stress cardiomyopathy.

Many psychological factors, such as anger, anxiety, depression, and loneliness, can contribute to stress. Social factors, such as difficulty in finances, work-related problems, and family responsibilities, add to the stress levels. Each of these factors alone can increase the risk of heart-related issues, and when combined, the risk increases exponentially.

High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure rises when you're doing a physical activity such as exercise and dips when you're at rest or quietly fallen asleep.

When stress hormones are released, the heart starts to beat faster and causes blood pressure o rise. This rise in blood pressure is often temporary, and when the heartbeat slows down, blood pressure comes down to normal levels. If the condition persists and stress levels continue to increase, blood pressure levels may remain consistently high.

An increase in blood pressure makes it harder for the heart to pump blood throughout the body and thickens the heart muscle. Over time, blood circulation to the heart muscle decreases and weakens the heart, and causes heart failure.

High blood pressure increases the chances of atherosclerosis, a condition causing abnormalities in artery walls. The increase in blood pressure levels increases the risk of heart failure, heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease.

If you've a daily routine that increases chronic stress levels, the chances of getting diabetes, heart attack, kidney disease, asthma, or gastrointestinal disorders may increase exponentially. Some changes in lifestyle and dietary habits may help reduce stress levels. You can take professional help for stress management and lessen the chances of stress wreaking havoc on your life. Along with doctor's medication, deep breathing and meditation may help bring down stress levels.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Tucson, Ariz.

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