Side effects of stress on your body
Stress can manifest itself in surprising and strange ways in our bodies, read on to discover some of these side effects.
All the things going on in your life (work, family, trying to get (or stay!) in shape, etc., can add up to stress, even if the stressor is positive. “Stress is a physiological and emotional response to a threat,” says John McGrail, Ph.D., a Los Angeles-based clinical hypnotherapist and author of “The Synthesis Effect: Your Direct Path to Personal Power and Transformation.” The problem is that modern society often creates long-term chronic stress, which can be devastating to the mind and body.
1.-Slower recovery from exercise
High levels of stress hormones circulating through your system can make it harder for your body to recover from a workout, according to a study in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. The study evaluated the relationship between perceived mental stress and recovery from training among 31 college students and found that students with high levels of stress experienced worse recoveries as rated by feelings of energy, fatigue and pain. Because elevated cortisol levels destroy muscle and store fat, chronic stress keeps hormones elevated, which slows recovery from your workout.
Trying to remember where you left your car keys becomes even harder when you’re stressed about getting to your appointment on time, according to a study in Nature Reviews Neuroscience. The study shows that stress creates changes in the brain that can produce long-term consequences for mental performance. Another University of Iowa study links high levels of stress to changes in the short-term memory center of the brain in older rats. Stress can “fog” your memory, so remembering simple things becomes a huge obstacle.
Can stress make you put on weight? Apparently so. According to a study in the journal Obesity, which followed 5,000 people for five years, psychosocial stress, including life events and perceived stress, links weight gain but not weight loss. “People tend to reach for sugary, fatty, salty foods when they’re stressed,” says Pamela Peeke, MD, senior scientific advisor at Elements Behavioral Health and author of “The Hunger Fix.” In addition, research suggests that eating fatty foods when your cortisol levels are high (such as when you’re under stress) actually lowers your metabolism.
Stress from work or life events can cause you to toss and turn all night, preventing restful sleep. This sleep loss is linked to a number of health problems, including an increased risk of heart disease, obesity and a weakened immune system. The problem is that it’s a vicious cycle, where insomnia worsens stress and depression, which then keeps you up at night.
5.-Weaker immune system
Chronic stress can make it harder for you to fend off viruses and infections by lowering your immune system’s response, according to a study in the journal Psychological Bulletin. Interestingly, the study shows that short-term stress (such as a sudden reaction to a life-threatening situation) produced beneficial changes in the immune system. But the more chronic the stress, the greater the negative impact on the immune system, which researchers believe may be due to hormonal changes.
A traumatic or stressful event can cause hair loss two to three months later, says Robert Dorin, D.O., a New York-based hair restoration expert. Telogen effluvium is a condition caused by stress in which the hair’s growth phase shifts prematurely to its resting phase, resulting in thinning hair, she says. Psychological and/or physical stressors such as depression, anxiety, lack of sleep and chronic illness can trigger telogen effluvium.
7.-Poor sexual performance
Stress can also reduce the quality of your sex life. This can
occur in a variety of ways, says Muhammad Mirza, M.D., an
men’s health expert and founder of erectiledoctor.com. “Stress
can make a man no longer interested in sexual activity.
completely. Feeling stressed about intimacy on your own can
provoke performance anxiety. On its own, continuous stress
can also cause chemical and hormonal changes which can lead to
a worsening of sexual problems in the form of sexual dysfunction, such as
erectile and/or loss of libido.
The eyes also feel the impact of stress. Stress-related eye symptoms range from simple eye twitching to hysterical blindness (reduced peripheral vision), says Andrea Thau, O.D., spokesperson for the American Optometric Association (AOA). Hysterical blindness requires identifying the underlying cause of emotional stress. A more common symptom, a palpebral twitch called myokymia, can also be induced by stress.
9.-Increased risk of developing type II diabetes.
Men under chronic stress have a substantially increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared with men who report no stress or occasional stress, according to a Swedish study. More than 6,800 men involved in the study rated their stress level on a six-point scale based on factors such as irritation, anxiety, and conditions at work and at home. Men who reported ongoing stress related to work or home conditions within the past five years had a 45 percent increased risk of developing diabetes.
10.-Higher number of allergies
If you notice an increase in your allergy symptoms, it could be related to your new job or stress at home, according to an Ohio State University study. The 12-week study involved 179 patients and found an increase in allergy flare-ups linked within the days of highest daily stress. And in a high-stress group, 64 percent had more than four flares in two 14-day periods.