The long term physical effects of stress

Long term effects of stress

The long term effects of stress can be extremely serious.  Even low-level prolonged stress, because of its insidious nature, can leave the sufferer unaware of the damage occurring within them for many years. 


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​Prolonged stress can and will result in a variety of physical discomforts and eventually serious illnesses.  It may begin with comparatively minor complaints like headaches, migraines, backache, attacks of asthma, arthritis, palpitations, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, difficulty sleeping, etc. 

There are other causes for these and the following more serious complaints; but stress has been shown to exasperate them, cause them, or even make them more likely to occur.

While none of the above are life threatening, they are not ‘normal’ states for the human body to be experiencing.  We should be free of these things, living happy, calm, relaxed and joyous lives.

“​If you don't think your anxiety, depression, sadness and stress impact your physical health, think again. All of these emotions trigger chemical reactions in your body, which can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system. Learn how to cope, sweet friend. There will always be dark days. ”

Kris Carr


When the levels of stress are higher than necessary over long periods the serious implications for the body truly begin.  Allowing our bodies to be full of the stress chemicals for year after year simply has to cause us harm over the long term.


Serious health problems

Long term symptoms like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, blood thickening, blood clotting, and restricted circulation must almost inevitably lead to heart diseases like angina, heart attacks and strokes. 


Constant anxiety, fear, or emotional stress will cause cortisol and adrenaline to be ever present in the system.  This can increase the chances of an angina attack in many different ways. 


For instance, they accelerate the heart, causing it to work harder.  They restrict the blood vessels, causing higher blood pressure, increasing the workload of the heart even more.  They also constrict the coronary arteries (which carry fresh oxygen to the heart) even further. 

​With all this going on it’s no wonder things become serious.  It has become clear stress is a major cause of heart attacks.  Although high blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol, excess weight and cigarette smoking are considered high risk factors, stress is likely to be the cause of these in the first place.

​When you think of the physical reactions to stress, and consider what it must be like for our bodies to endure them over extended periods, it seems quite likely that it would cause the body to break down in this or other ways.  Recovery rates will also be slowed, of course.


Pressure on a bent stick

The person who remains stressed for a long time runs the risk of long term exposure to all the ills that this can bring.  If the levels of stress are maintained too high for too long, something must snap. 

It is no different than maintaining stress on a bent stick.  The stick cannot cope with the sustained attack on its straightness; the body cannot cope with the sustained attack on its biological systems.  It will break down.  In some way, at some time, it will scream out for a rest.

This is merely the body giving up under the strain of it all.  When it has required rest for an extended period, and this rest hasn’t been forthcoming, it will come up with a way of obtaining it. 

​It is far better to prevent illnesses occurring in the first place, rather than trying to cure them after they arrive to ruin our lives

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With all this going on it’s no wonder things become serious.  It has become clear stress is a major cause of heart attacks.  Although high blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol, excess weight and cigarette smoking are considered high risk factors, stress is likely to be the cause of these in the first place.


​Once in a hospital bed the body will have all the rest it needs.  The trouble is, that more often than not, by this time it is far too late to do much good.  The body has already broken down and ceased to function in the way that was intended.  The rest, and possibly therapy should have come long ago.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with life and would like to look at their struggles from a stress busting perspective, I offer a FREE Stress Audit call to anyone who needs it.

 © 2000, 2019 John Freeman

 

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