Stress is an inevitable part of life for most people. It is the body’s response to the pressures placed on it by its environment and day to day actions. Here is a list of the various causes of stress. Prolonged exposure to stress has an enormous impact and not just on general well-being; extensive research has shown that stress is a contributing factor to life-threatening conditions.
The Link Between Stress and Illness
It is widely accepted in the worlds of science and medicine that there is a link between stress and many illnesses, ailments and diseases. However, it is still not fully understood why. The theories fall into two categories. One is that those suffering from stress suffer from poor sleep and often turn to alcohol and cigarettes as stress relievers. In addition they may take less care of themselves generally, eating poor diets and taking less exercise. The thinking is that it is these secondary actions that trigger disease.
The second theory is that disease results from the body’s prolonged exposure to high levels of certain hormones released at times of stress, such as cortisol and adrenaline. These impact on other healthy biological functions.
List of Stress Related Ailments
Here is a list of the various diseases caused because of stress.
1.) Depression Caused by Stress
Stress can either cause depression or exacerbate it in those already suffering from the illness. Poor sleep brought on by stress can also trigger depression in some people.
2.) Stress Related Headaches and Migraines
When we are stressed our body naturally tenses up; a bodily response to increased levels of hormones such as cortisol which control our fight or flight instinct. It is thought that tension is responsible for many of the headaches suffered, maybe as many as 80% and perhaps an even higher percentage for migraine headaches.
3.) Stress Induced Sleep Disturbances and Insomnia
Sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture which perhaps illustrates the serious implications of lack of sleep. Lack of quality sleep alone will make us ill. The body repairs and rejuvenates itself while we sleep and if there isn’t enough sleep then the implications are obvious.
Poor sleeping patterns are a very common sign of stress. When we are anxious or over stimulated we find it difficult to sleep.
4.) Backache Cause of Stress
Most body aches including backaches are a form of stress induced illness. This is the most common result of constantly tense muscles which can lead to poor posture and body alignment. In addition, tense muscles are prone to injury and tears which will lead to soreness and general aches and pains.
5.) Heart Problems
The raised risk of heart problems and coronary disease from prolonged stress has been much in the news for several years now. Although the exact links are not known it is accepted that they are there none the less.
6.) Stress and High Blood Pressure
Continuously high blood pressure because of stress increases the risk of stroke and coronary disease.
7.) Colds and Other Infectious Illnesses
It is known that there is a link between high stress levels and lowered immunity which may mean picking up every bug that’s going. Although in most cases this isn’t serious there are some that believe that in the most ominous of cases the risk of cancer becomes higher. Research is being done on this at present to prove or disprove this theory.
8.) Stomach Ulcers Caused by Stress
Stress can lead to the secretion of excess acid which can harm the stomach wall and cause ulcers.
9.) Stress Related Digestive disorders
It is thought that the muscle tension that leads to conditions such as backache and migraines can also affect the body internally. Digestive system muscle contractions can lead to stomach cramps, digestive disorders and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
10.) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
General fatigue and lethargy can arise from prolonged stress and in more severe cases will result in a chronic condition that has a serious knock on effect and other ill health implications.
11.) Fertility Problems and Menstrual Cycle Disorders
Severe stress can have the effect of temporarily suspending the menstrual cycle so it stands to reason it can also affect fertility.
This list of diseases caused by stress is not exhaustive and more links are being made all the time between stress and other medical conditions not mentioned here.
Stress is something which affects all of us at times and where it is temporary or manageable then will do little or no harm. However, where the stress is prolonged, it is clearly indicated that steps must be taken to address the issue before serious medical conditions arise.
Ensuring adequate and restful sleep is one positive step to take. Meditation, relaxation techniques, yoga and massage can all help to manage stress levels. Regular exercise and a healthy diet will also contribute positively. Just simply taking time out for yourself and spending time doing things you enjoy are crucial to managing stress.
As stress related ailments are so often serious it is advisable to seek medical advice in cases of severe or prolonged stress.