For most people nowadays, dealing with stress is a normal part of modern life. How we deal with it will make a lot of difference in our overall health and there’s no excuse not to, because there are many ways to de-stress after a tiring week. But what happens to those who cannot take the stress and don’t have time to unwind even on weekends?

Acute and Chronic Stress
Acute stress is sometimes helpful when you’re in threatening situations, because the sudden elevated bodily response might help people survive. Acute stress is just another name for adrenaline rush and it can temporarily improve the body’s immune system. Prolonged stress, however, is a different story altogether. A constantly active stress response damages the body because the body cannot reset its normal inflammatory chemicals and hormones.

Stress Causes Chronic Pain
When you’re chronically stressed, perhaps from overwork or family or financial problems, you’re more likely to suffer from musculoskeletal disorders because your muscles are always tense. Although injuries can also cause chronic pain, how the person’s body responds to the injury will also determine the healing process. Muscle tension is a natural response of the body to pain and injury, that is why those who maintain light to moderate physical activities during recovery heal better than those who are afraid to injure themselves again.

Stress Causes Cardiovascular Problems
Stress causes an increase in the heart contractions and heart rate due to the increase in the stress hormones. This is fine during fight-or-flight responses for emergencies, but prolonged stress can increase the likelihood of inflammation in the blood vessels and elevate the cholesterol levels, therefore increase the chances of cardiovascular problems.

Stress is Bad for Menopause
Not only will stress aggravate any existing medical problem, but it is especially dangerous for women during menopause. In pre-menopausal stages, the level of estrogen can still help the body respond to stress, but postmenopausal stage lowers the level of estrogen that is supposed to protect the heart from diseases. This is why a lot of women complain about “feeling old and sickly” at this stage of their life because of the changes in their body.

Stress Affects Other Organs
Although the most noticeable effect of stress can be seen in the cardiovascular system, other systems of the body will also be affected. The liver for example, tends to produce more glucose when you’re stressed, but if your body cannot process the excess sugar effectively, you can gain weight and even be at risk for diabetes. Stress also causes your brain to signal that you’re either hungry or full all the time. Stress therefore, causes changes in the eating habits, weight, and even bowel movements.

Stress Drains You
Prolonged stress can give you sleepless nights and various health problems that will only pile up and cause more stress. It’s an endless cycle that will eventually drain you mentally and emotionally.