Physiological effect of stress on the body

The old saying goes, “Into every life a little rain must fall.” Stress is like rain. A little of that can be good. But too much can wreak havoc and destruction.

Our bodies are designed to handle some acute or sudden stress. But when stress is prolonged or becomes chronic, it can have devastating consequences for our health.

Here are some of the ways stress can negatively affect your body:

Respiratory Issues

Prolonged stress can lead to respiratory problems such as shortness of breath. People who do not have an underlying respiratory disease may not be much affected. But for those with pre-existing conditions such as COPD and asthma, stress can make the condition dangerously worse.

Heart health

When we are stressed we are in fight or flight mode. This makes our heart beat faster and our blood vessels dilate. In short-term scenarios, these physical manifestations help us get out of danger.

But over prolonged periods, this can put a lot of strain on our heart and blood vessels, potentially leading to a heart attack or stroke.

Gut health

Did you know that 80% of your immune system is in your gut? It is incredibly important to ensure that your gut is healthy!

But chronic stress can wreak havoc on your gut by altering your beneficial gut bacteria. And a change in this bacteria can negatively affect your mood. And when you’re already feeling stressed, the last thing you need is to feel depressed too.

Sexual Health

Both the male and female reproductive systems are affected by the nervous system. When we’re stressed, our sex hormones can get out of balance and we can lose sex drive. Men may have difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection. Stress can also make it difficult to conceive and affect a woman’s menstrual cycle.

As you can see, stress can really affect your physical health in a negative way. While we can’t stop the rain from falling or stress from entering our lives, we can practice healthy stress management. That means eating right, getting enough exercise and quality sleep every night.


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