Stress has become a normal occurrence in our everyday lives that can affect our bodies in positive and negative ways. When we are stressed, our bodies begin to release stress hormones such as adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol. These hormones can be beneficial as they help the body deal with small doses of stress as part of the stress response. However, long-term or chronic stress can severely affect the body and take a toll on your health. We have put together the following list to further understand the science of how stress affects the body.
It can weaken your immune system
Stress can have devastating effects on your body’s immune system. When under stress, your body secretes hormones to defend body. This can prove to be beneficial in the short term to deal with immediate threats. However, this chronic stress can weaken your immune cells and lead to a subdued immune system in the long term. This makes it more difficult to fight infections and makes you more susceptible to illnesses. The time to recover from an illness can also be significantly increased due to stress.
Blood and digestion issues
When under stress, your body experiences physical changes such as an increased heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar level. As a result, chronic stress may increase your risk of developing diabetes. There are also adverse effects on the digestive system for people suffering from long-term stress. These include the likes of acid reflux, heartburn, indigestion, and irritable bowel syndrome. The increased stomach acid secretions could potentially damage the gut lining. Stress can also change the composition of your gut bacteria, possibly leading to digestion issues.
Stress can also affect the brain
Not only does chronic stress affect the body physically, but it can also impact your emotional well-being. One of the main ways stresses can affect the body is through the central nervous system, and more specifically, the brain. Those who are constantly stressed may experience fatigue, tension headaches, and loss of sleep. In addition, science suggests that chronic stress can severely affect mental health as it is positively correlated with depression.
Fertility and reproductive problems
Stress can the reproductive system for both men and women making it more challenging to reproduce. In the long term, stress may negatively impact the production of testosterone and sperm in men. As for women, stress can cause disruptions and irregularities to their menstrual cycles while also making periods more painful.