There are many effects of increasing stress on the body and these effects can manifest themselves very differently from person to person. The short term effects and long term effects of stress are very different. Short term stress activates your bodies fight or flight response and certain functional adjustments are made within your body. This response includes a coordinated series of events throughout the body which include:
- Diversion of the blood from less vital to more vital organs.
- Increase in the heart rate to supply more blood quickly.
- Increase in the blood pressure to supply blood efficiently.
- Increase in the respiratory rate to get more oxygen from the atmosphere.
- Breakdown of glycogen stores in liver and muscle to get more glucose.
- Formation of more glucose from non carbohydrate substances.
These events are the immediate result of the release of certain hormones and chemical messengers throughout the body. This occurs to place the body into a heightened state and allow it to function as well as possible for the situation at hand. Many different organs are involved and must be working appropriately in order to result in the proper stress response.
When people are dealing with chronic stress the hormones and chemical messengers are continually released throughout the body. The constant presence of high levels of stress hormones and chemical messengers does a lot of damage to the body. This results in damage to organs in the body and some of the organs, releasing the chemicals associated with stress, to become overworked and may no longer be able to appropriately respond to the stressful situation. Some of the involved systems include:
- The adrenal glands, which release the primary stress hormone, cortisol.
- The thyroid gland, which can become overactive and results in sleeplessness, nervousness, and exhaustion.
- Sex hormones decrease with increased levels of stress hormones. This can result in decrease libido and sexual function.
- The liver releases more glucose and the pancreas released less insulin, resulting in an increase in blood glucose.
- Heart and respiratory rates increase with stress.
- Digestion is slowed with stress, due to the diversion of energy as a result of the stress response.
There are many symptoms of chronic stress, but some of the symptoms include:
- Chronic Headaches
- Mood Swings
- Anxiety disorder
- Substance abuse
- Memory disorders
- Problems with the Gastro-Intestinal tract such as irritable bowel disease or Crohn’s disease.
- Heart attack or stroke from increase blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar.
- Weight loss
- Decreased sexual drive
There are many different options for dealing with stress which include:
- Adaptogenic herbs
- Licorice Root
- Cordyceps Mycelium
- Asian Ginseng Root Extract
- Rhodiola Root Extract
- Removing the stressor from your life
Stress is a very important problem to correct. As you have read chronic stress can cause a myriad of life long problems and it is much easier to manage your stress appropriately instead of waiting until your body can no longer adapt and continue on the same stressful path.