In one way or another, we have all felt stress. It can sometimes be a positive force that motivates you to perform well at something, or it can be a negative force. Stress could become chronic when experienced over a long period of time. It’s therefore important to take action as soon as possible before it becomes beyond control. Some of the well-known stress implications that majority of people may have experienced include depression, anxiety, headache, and sleep deprivation. However, researchers are increasingly uncovering more ways in which stress can affect your health and here are some of them.
1. Heart Health
According to studies, stress can influence your behavior that has negative implications for your heart health. For instance, working for long hours can increase risk of alcohol because many people believe that alcohol use can alleviate stress caused by working conditions and work pressure. In some cases, some people may eat too much that can lead to obesity, while others prefer to smoke to relief stress, which isn’t the reality. Smoking and eating in response to stress are just factors that contribute to poor health by causing damage to your arteries’ walls and raising blood pressure.
Moreover, the studies have also shown that stress may reduce blood flow to the heart, particularly for women. Researchers have found that in people suffering from coronary heart disease, most stressed women are more likely to have greater blood flow reduction than stressed men are.
Stress that is more acute can also increase the risk of heart attack. A study found that work stress might increase the risk of heart attack by at least 23%. In addition, periods of extremely intense anxiety or anger may also increase such risk by more than 9 times. Stress can continue to affect your heart even after experiencing a heart attack. Women are more likely to experience severe mental stress after a heart attack – which leads to poorer recovery.
Alzheimer’s disease is actually among the top ten leading causes of death and affects so many people across the world. While its exact causes are not clear, past researches have suggested that any form of stress may contribute to the development of this particular disease. For instance, a study conducted on mice found that larger amounts of stress hormones in the brains were associated with high levels of beta-amyloid plaques, proteins that play a crucial role in Alzheimer’s. According to another research, women who had either higher cortisol levels or high blood pressure, in which both are symptoms of stress, were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than patients who didn’t have such symptoms.
Don’t be surprised to learn that stress may also contribute to increased risk of diabetes. In fact, women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are more likely to develop diabetes than those without these symptoms. PSTD is a condition triggered by extremely distressing events. Prolonged periods of stress can increase the hormone cortisol production that can also increase the levels of glucose in your blood, and this is actually the reason why stress has been associated with increased risk of diabetes.
Concisely, in addition to these stress implications for health, a number of couples across the world have issues sustaining a pregnancy or getting pregnant. Researchers are increasingly suggesting that stress may be one of the contributing factors when it comes to fertility.