4 Scary Ways Stress Can Impact Your Overall Health
High or frequent stress in your life can have a serious impact on your health. Most people tend to treat the symptoms, such as mood swings, headaches, or insomnia, but the root cause may simply be stress. It’s important that you find ways to de-stress. Otherwise, the effects can build up and create some serious health issues.
High Blood Pressure
Each time you start to feel stressed, your body experiences something like a flight-or-fight response that triggers a surge of hormones. This causes your heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to narrow. Both of these factors elevate blood pressure. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is known as a silent killer because symptoms may not be obvious but the dangers are severe.
Around 800,000 Americans die from heart problems annually. Stress interferes with our circulatory metabolism to create hardened arteries, high cholesterol, and improper blood clotting.
These factors put additional strain on your heart and weaken or diminish its capacity to pump blood. Stress can also lead to emotional problems like depression or anxiety. Coping mechanisms like alcohol abuse, smoking, or drugs only worsen the problem.
One method that many people use to cope is food. Stress causes your body to release too much of a hormone called cortisol, which helps to regulate fat and stimulate appetite. Another key hormone is serotonin, which regulates mood.
In times of stress, our bodies want more serotonin to feel better, which adds to cravings for “comfort” foods like sweets or ice cream. It’s important to find alternate ways of de-stressing. Aromas, for instance are a safer way to provide that mental fix. Fragrant oils with scents like patchouli or tangerine from places like Davina Wellness can help to satisfy the urge and reduce the stress.
Cortisol also plays a key role in regulating blood sugar, along with a hormone called epinephrine. They increase blood sugar to provide the body with more energy. Excess blood sugar is controlled with insulin.
When blood sugar is out of balance, there’s not enough or the wrong kinds of insulin, so that high blood sugar begins to harm the nerves and tissues. High stress can both contribute to, and worsen, diabetes.
Stress can be a dangerous influence on health if you don’t take steps to correct it. Exercise, meditation, aroma therapy, and other techniques can help. Find one that works for you.