Is Stress Making You Sick?

We live in a world of ever-increasing stress. Tariffs, weather, long workdays, trade wars, and more. But are you under so much stress that it is making you sick!?

Dr. Jay Winner, the author of “Take the Stress Out of Your Life,” says, “Stress doesn’t just make us feel awful emotionally. It can also exacerbate just about any health condition you can think of.”

There are dozens of symptoms caused by stress. Signs include being easily agitated, feeling overwhelmed, having low energy, headaches, insomnia, or ringing in your ears. Forgetfulness, procrastination, and changes in your appetite (either eating too much or too little) are also symptoms. For a full list of symptoms, click here.

If you experience a little stress every once in a while, that’s completely normal. But chronic stress – meaning constant stress over weeks, months, or more – can lead to problems.

Top 10 Health Problems Related to Stress:

  1. Accelerated aging. Stress affects how you age. One study showed that stress accelerates aging by between 9 to 17 years.
  2. Alzheimer’s disease. There have been many studies suggesting that stress worsens Alzheimer’s disease, causing brain lesions to form faster. Some researchers speculate that reducing stress has the potential to slow down the progression of the disease.
  3. Asthma. Feeling winded? Can’t catch your breath? Many studies have shown that chronic stress can increase your risk of developing asthma.
  4. Depression and anxiety. Prolonged stress is associated with a rise in cases of anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that people who experience high levels of stress related to their work have an 80 percent greater risk of developing depression within a few years than people with lower stress.
  5. Diabetes. Stress is a nightmare for diabetics, with studies showing a direct correlation between stress and diabetes. The more stress you experience, the more likely you are to get diabetes. Stress also raises the glucose levels of people with type 2 diabetes.
  6. Gastrointestinal problems. Do you have an ulcer? Stress will make it worse. Stress also plays a large part in other GI conditions like chronic heartburn or irritable bowel syndrome.
  7. Headaches. Stress is one of the most common causes of headaches and migraines.
  8. Heart disease. Stress can increase your heart rate, causing the release of triglycerides and cholesterol and into your bloodstream, which can lead to heart disease.
  9. Premature death. People suffering from chronic stress, especially those over 45, have a 63 percent higher rate of death than people their age who don’t suffer from chronic stress.

There are things you can do to decrease stress in your life. Exercising is the best method. It lowers your body’s stress hormones and helps to release endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers. Another tip is to reduce your caffeine intake – and not just in coffee. Caffeine is also in tea, chocolate, and energy drinks. For more tips on decreasing stress, click here.