04 Jul 2021: #HealthBytes: The harmful ways chronic stress can affect your body
Getting late for work or arguing with loved ones were common everyday stressors that were a part of our lives until the pandemic took stress to a whole new level. With most of us juggling work, chores, and adapting to the new way of life, the stress we live through every day can lead to chronic stress and affect our health badly. Understand how.
Heart diseases: Prolonged stress can lead to stroke and heart attack
When you are stressed, the heart pumps blood faster to distribute oxygen to the muscles so that you're in a better position to react to the situation. However, this action can constrict the blood vessels and cause high blood pressure. As a result, frequent stress makes the heart work harder and also increases blood pressure, giving way to a stroke or heart attack.
Diabetes: Can increase the risk of developing type-2 diabetes
When you are under stress, the liver produces extra glucose to give you a boost of energy. However, when you suffer from chronic stress, the body becomes unable to manage this extra surge in sugar, thus increasing your risk of developing type-2 diabetes. To check if your sugar levels are affected, monitor your sugar levels the next time you feel very stressed out.
Digestive issues: Can affect the digestive system and cause nausea and vomiting
Rapid breathing and increased heart rate can increase the risk of acid reflux in the stomach and upset the digestive system. This can cause heartburn and increase the risk of developing ulcers. In addition, stress can also affect the way food moves through the body, most often leading to diarrhea or constipation. Nausea, vomiting, and stomachache are few other issues that you might experience.
Immune system: Can eventually weaken the immune system
Due to stress, the immune system is stimulated to avoid infections and heal wounds. But over time, stress hormones weaken the immune system and reduce the body's response to infections. Studies suggest that people under chronic stress are more susceptible to the flu, common cold, and other such infections. Moreover, stress can also increase the recovery time from an illness or an injury.
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