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How Is Stress Hurting Your Health?

By Stepy Kamei 

Stress -- it's an unavoidable part of life, but it's more than just a mild inconvenience. It causes feelings of anxiety, which is already bad enough, but stress can also affect the body directly, leading to a negative impact on your physical health. Read on to learn more about how exactly stress impacts your body so you're more informed on the importance of de-stressing regularly.

Aches and Pains

One of the most common effects of stress on the body is aches and pains. After all, they're called "tension headaches" for a reason. Headaches aren't the only way stress will show up in your body. You may be tensing up your muscles frequently during bouts of stress without even realizing it. This can end up causing joint pain and fatigue, which can last for hours or days, even after you no longer feel stressed.

Digestive Issues

There's a proven link between the gut and a person's mental state, so it shouldn't be surprising to learn that stress can have a direct impact on digestive health as well. You may experience nausea, heartburn, and stomachaches, which can make it difficult to get the nutrition you need. Alternatively, you may experience heightened feelings of hunger, due to production of the stress hormone cortisol, which can wreak havoc on your diet. For these reasons, stomach issues are often linked to increased levels of stress.

Sleep Disruptions

This is probably one of the least surprising impacts of stress, but it's worth repeating that stress can make it difficult for you to fall and stay asleep. Many people report having trouble falling asleep, or waking up constantly throughout the night, due to excessive worrying or feeling anxious about something from the day. Unfortunately, a lack of good sleep can easily have a snowball effect and cause even further health problems, including poor concentration and focus, reduced energy, lower mood, and even a weakened immune system.

Higher Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar Levels

The hormones produced by stress can constrict blood vessels, leading to increased blood pressure, and therefore increased risk of heart disease. Furthermore, stress can cause the liver to release more glucose into your bloodstream, which may lead to type 2 diabetes if left unchecked.

Mental Effects

Finally, these health issues usually have an impact on your mental health as well. You may find yourself more susceptible to feelings of sadness or intense anxiety if stress is chronic in your life. Be sure to meet with your healthcare professional if you feel that your stress levels are higher than you can manage, to prevent your overall well-being from being impacted too severely.  

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

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