We've all experienced some type of stress in our lives, whether it be from work or from home. Sometimes stress isn't bad, it can improve performance to a degree. However, once it goes past that threshold and into more prolonged stress, it can lead to a number of problems.
Feeling stressed is a response of mental or emotional drain due to adverse or demanding circumstances. In some cases, it can be a one off thing, where once a particular task is completed, the stress disappears. However, in some cases, stress can be prolonged. When stress becomes chronic, it has detrimental effects on the body.
When we are stressed, our muscles tense up; it is a protective mechanism of the body. However, this can lead to stiffness and pain. Ever wondered why when you are stressed you get headaches? In some people, stress takes its toll on the muscles and can lead to other consequences such as headaches and referred pain elsewhere in the body.
Chronic stress can increase the risk of developing heart disease and increase the risk of having a heart attack. Stress can lead to an increase in heart rate- the body's natural reaction when adrenaline is present. However, prolonged stress can make the heart work harder, due to the elevation of the stress hormones. The heart will work harder to pump blood through, potentially weakening the heart, increasing blood pressure and the potential of a cardiac episode to occur.
Increased levels of cortisol, AKA the stress hormone, can decrease immune response, increasing your risk of developing colds and flus. It also interferes with insulin, important in maintaining blood glucose levels. Increased cortisol levels increases insulin resistance, increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Too much cortisol can also impact on memory, damaging the hippocampus cells and can impair memory and learning function.
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