Stress & Its Impact on Your Physical Health

When we hear the word stress, we more than likely start thinking about all of the effects it can have on our emotional and mental health. Interestingly enough, stress is even able to impact our bodies negatively over time as well. Chronic, or long-lasting, stress is able to impact a person’s physical health in more ways than one.

Stress can affect your appetite and weight.

Over time stress can begin having a significant impact on your appetite, which in turn has an impact on your weight. When some people are stressed, they find themselves feeling like they have no appetite and will go for long periods of time without eating. This understandably may cause them to lose weight as a result. On the other hand, some people may find themselves eating more during times of extreme stress. It is during these times that the person may gain weight as a result. Over time this change of appetite and weight loss/gain may cause issues with self-esteem and confidence.

Stress can affect your brain.

When you’re stressed, you may find yourself having more difficulty concentrating and focusing. People who are stressed for long periods of time may experience these symptoms, as well as have several structural changes within the brain. Things like imbalances between grey and white matter, the dying of brain cells, and the shrinking of areas that control emotions, metabolism, and memory may occur. Over time, these things can understandably impact the way you regulate emotions and behave in general.

Stress can affect your skin.

When you’re stressed your body’s natural response is to release more cortisol, which ends up causing your skin to produce more oils. This oil production can cause some peoples’ skin to break out with acne. In addition to acne, stress can also cause other skin issues such as eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis to worsen. Sometimes when people are stressed, they may skip parts of their skincare routine which can understandably also cause flare-ups as well.

Stress can affect the reproductive system.

When a person experiences chronic stress, their reproductive system may be impacted fairly heavily. Both males and females may experience issues with fertility. In the same way, both males and females who experience high levels of stress regularly have an increased chance of developing various diseases of the reproductive system. Women experiencing extreme stress may have problems with menstruation, such as absent or irregular cycles, more painful cramping, and changes in the length of their cycles. Additionally, pregnant women who are extremely stressed have higher risks of complications both during the pregnancy and postpartum.

Stress can affect your immune system.

When you’re stressed, your body is working hard to try and combat the stressor(s), whether they are physical, mental, or emotional. During this time, your body is so focused on the stress that it leaves other areas of the body unprotected. This may cause your immune system to become weakened, making you more likely to get sick.

Need more support?

If you are a carer who finds yourself feeling stressed and overwhelmed much of the time, Suffolk Carers Matter is here to help support you! We offer free support, advice, and guidance and even have a free counselling service available should you need it!

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