The first thing that happens when you are under stress is your heart starts pounding. This goes back to our caveman days and the fight or fright mechanism that is built in us, so that the heart starts to pump all that blood around to get to the muscles so that you could fight that predator animal or run away from it. This survival mechanism had to make sure that enough blood was getting to the right muscles and your brain for you to function in this dangerous situation.
Well of course that leads to high bold pressure. Now, high blood pressure in short doses isn’t a bad thing, but sustained high blood pressure can be very, very harmful. The mildest form of high blood pressure can lead to headaches but at the other end of the scale it can result in serious health issues like strokes and heart attacks.
And the of course, with all that blood pumping around and because of that heightened sense of awareness your body releases all sorts of endocrines and glucose to make sure that your muscles have the nutrients that they need. And if you don’t need it your body will recycle that and it all ends up in your digestive system and too much of it can lead to indigestion. In its mildest form that can lead to heart burn and if it carries on over a long period of time it can lead to stomach ulcers.
Stress can also take its toll on your reproductive system. In women this can mean an irregular menstrual cycle and in men this can mean erectile dysfunction. In both sexes it can lead to difficulty sleeping. When you are under stress and you’ve got stuff on your mind, you toss and turn and you can’t sleep at night and that can bring on depression. Stress is probably the leading cause of depression.
Stress can lead to other things as well, like diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, anxiety and panic attacks, the list just goes on and on.
Now, a lot of people will try and self-medicate to deal with the effects of stress and some of the more common things are, smoking and alcohol. A drink to calm your nerves can soon become a dependence on alcohol. Over–the-counter medication can start out as an aspirin for a head ache or an anti-acid tablet for an upset stomach and but can soon become a dependency on these medicines.
Some people resort to natural remedies. Now, there is nothing wrong with natural remedies but if you don’t know what you are doing, they can be very harmful.
And finally, people can start taking lots of prescription drugs, either those that are recommended by their doctors or something that someone gives them, which can also lead to serious health problems. So you can find yourself having more health problems caused by the things that you are trying to do to combat the stress and the whole thing becomes a vicious circle.
Now, according to the website WebMD.com, 43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress and 75-90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress related ailments and complaints. In the US, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace. And stress cost American industry more than $300 million dollars annually. And the lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50%, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions.
And it is not just you that can be harmed by your stress. It can be very harmful to your family, especially to your children, and we discuss how it affects them in here.