9 Health Problems Related To Stress And Ways To Fight It
If you need a motivation to reduce the amount of stress in your life, you must know that stress itself might fairly influence your health condition. Stress does not only have emotional consequences. It can exacerbate many health problems of an individual.
Studies have discovered the relationship between stress and health problems. Many conditions are exacerbated by stressful situations and stress may increase the risk of developing diseases like obesity, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal disorders and asthma. The good part is that stress can be managed and health risks can be diminished (Read On)
Why stress is negatively affecting your health?
Stress is not just a feeling. It is a natural reaction, a psychological response to a threat. When a person is stressed, his body reacts to shrink blood vessels, increase blood pressure and pulse rate, breathing intensifies, the concentration of hormones increases (adrenaline and cortisol) in the bloodstream. When stress becomes chronic, these physiological changes can lead to real health problems.
There are various stress management techniques, which will not only change a person’s state of mind but will also have specific health benefits. For example, one study looked at the survivors after heart attacks found that the risk of heart attack decreases by 74% if stress is controlled. There is even some evidence that stress management increases the body’s immunity.
However many people remain skeptical, in terms of stress control. Everyday life involves stress: people have jobs, family life, financial problems and limited time. Stress management may seem like a nice idea but completely impossible. It is true that not all things can change an individual’s stressful life.
Top 9 health problems influenced by by stress
Here are some of the diseases that can be triggered by stress:
- Cardiovascular disorders – researchers have found that people who have a certain type of personality are prone more than others to hypertension and cardiovascular problems. Nobody knows the exact cause, but it seems that stress could have a direct effect on the heart and blood vessels. It is possible that stress, along with other issues such as smoking or obesity contribute to a increased risk of developing cardiovascular disorders. Sudden emotional stress can trigger serious heart problems, including heart attacks. People with cardiovascular disorders should avoid stress as much as they can can.
- Obesity – the existance of excess fat around the waist presents a greater risk to health than excess fat found on the legs or hips. It seems that people under stress gain weight faster. Stress raises levels of a hormone called cortisol, which contributes to fat depositation on the abdomen.
- Asthma – many studies have shown that stress can aggravate asthma. Some studies have even found that some parents suffering from chronic asthma can give birth to children who suffer from the same disease. Also, the parent’s stress increases the chances for some kids to be exposed to polluted air or smoke, because their mothers smoked during pregnancy or after.
- Diabetes mellitus – stress can worsen diabetes. First it raises the risk of neglecting the healthy eating habbits and predisposes to excessive food consumption. Secondly, it can cause a raise in glucose levels in some patients with type 2 diabetes.
- Headaches – stress is considered the main trigger of headaches (hypertension and migraines)
- Depression and anxiety – it’s no surprise that chronic stress as a result of periods of intense stress is related to depression and anxiety. Results of a recent survey confirmed that people were stressed mainly because of work issues (such as demanding work and low reward), had a 80% higher risk of depression in the near future.
- Gastrointestinal disorders – stress does not only cause ulcers, but it also aggravates them. Also, stress is one that can give rise to various gastrointestinal disorders such as chronic heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and irritable bowel syndrome.
- Alzheimer’s disease – an animal study found that stress could aggravate Alzheimer’s disease, accelerating the formation of brain lesions. After some analysis, comparing the DNA of mothers who had experienced stressful situations (they took care of a chronically ill child), that of women who have not been in this situation, researchers have discovered that a certain portion of the stressed mothers chromosomes, showed an accelerated aging, up to about 9-17 years.
- Premature death – after some research, they examined the effects of stress on the health of older people who care about their partners, who are naturally under stress. They found that caregivers have a 63% higher risk of death than other persons who have not had such experiences.
Ways to fight stress that can improve health
Here are some tips that can be followed by a person who is stressed:
- Deep breathing. Just a few minutes of deep breathing can diffuse and attenuate physiological response to stress. Anyone should be able to choose a place and time of day in which he can perform this type of breathing exercise: in the car, office, and so on.
- Focusing on the present. When a person is stressed, is living in the past or in the future. Worrying about what is going to happen, what has to do next, or regrets a past event. To relax, you must focus on the present, what is happening NOW.
- Review situations. When someone is late and stuck in traffic, it is okay to be angry or agitated. The natural reaction, yet they are not helpful. Rather than hitting the steering wheel with anger, the situation can be seen from another angle: you can use those free minutes for relaxing.
- Optimism. Each person should keep their optimism, do not forget good things in life and the beautiful part of it, in other terms you should be grateful for every single moment you live.
These are just some of the stress management techniques that can help you in stressful moments. Regular exercise is key to long term stress management. Those who will constantly consider them will have a better state of mind but also health and have more energy than people who tend to ignore them. Relaxation techniques, medication, yoga are approaches that can take time and practice, but the results in short or long term health could be substantial.