The human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. Now stress can be of two kinds, Stress can be positive and negative. Stress is positive when it works in keeping us alert and ready to avoid danger, and negative when a person faces continuous challenges without break or relaxation between challenges. As a result, it causes tension and further problems for a person.
Stress that continues without relief can lead to a condition called distress — a negative stress reaction. Distress can lead to physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping. Research suggests that stress also can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases.
Stress also becomes harmful when people use alcohol, tobacco, or drugs to try and relieve their stress. Unfortunately, instead of relieving the stress and returning the body to a relaxed state, these substances tend to keep the body in a stressed state and cause more problems. Consider the following:
Over time, stress can affect your:
- ·Heart: Stress is linked to high blood pressure, abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia),blood clots, and hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). It’s also linked to coronary artery disease, heart attack, and heart failure.
- Muscles: Constant tension from stress can lead to neck, shoulder, and low back pain. Stress may make rheumatoid arthritis worse.
- Stomach: If you have stomach problems, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease, or irritable bowel syndrome, stress can make your symptoms worse.
- Reproductive organs: Stress is linked to low fertility, erection problems, and problems during pregnancy, and painful menstrual periods.
- Lungs: Stress can make symptoms of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) worse.
- Skin: Skin problems such as acne and psoriasis are made worse by stress.
Reference: American Psychological Association’s