The Effects of Stress on Your body can be…yep, you guessed it, stressful!

You may feel stressed about performance at school, traumatic life events such as a divorce, a death in the family, a natural disaster, or an act of violence, or a life change like a job change or job loss. Everyone feels stressed from time to time. What is stress? Stress is the physical or mental response to an external cause. A stressor may be a one-time or short-term occurrence, or it can happen repeatedly over a long time. A person’s reaction to any stressful event is unique. It is determined by both genetics and life experiences. Overactivity or under-activity of genes that control the stress response can affect how a person reacts to stressful situations.

Chronic stress has some of the most significant effects on the heart and blood vessels. A consistent increase in heart rate and constantly elevated blood pressure can take a heavy toll on the body. Moreover, stress hormones contribute to inflammation in the cardiovascular system, specifically the coronary arteries, as well as increased cholesterol levels. For these reasons, chronic stress is believed to be linked to an increased risk of three serious, potentially life-threatening conditions—heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

There are cognitive, emotional, physical and behavioral signs of chronic stress. Not all four of these categories of symptoms are necessarily going to show up in one person, but if someone has three to five of these symptoms for more than several weeks, they might be suffering from chronic stress.

Potential symptoms include:

  • Unusual aches and pains
  • Insomnia or sleepiness
  • A change in social behavior, such as staying in often
  • Low energy
  • Lack of focus or cloudy thinking
  • Change in appetite
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Change in emotional responses to others
  • Emotional withdrawal

Patients with chronic stress can see one of our providers and receive a treatment plan that targets their specific symptoms. Give us a call at (541) 210-5687 to schedule an appointment today.