Stress is an inevitable part of life that affects individuals in various ways. It is a physiological and psychological response to external pressures and demands. While stress can sometimes be beneficial, motivating individuals to perform better, excessive and chronic stress can have detrimental effects on one’s physical and mental well-being.
Stress can be caused by multifaceted factors that may or may not include work-related pressures, relationship conflicts, financial difficulties, and societal influence. Physiologically, stress triggers the release of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, preparing the body for a “fight or flight” response. This heightened state of arousal can lead to increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and compromised immune function. Moreover, prolonged exposure to stress can contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and other health issues. Furthermore, It can manifest as anxiety, depression, irritability, or difficulty concentrating. It impairs cognitive function and decision-making abilities while also affecting relationships with others. Chronic stress has been linked to the development of mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder.
But for those of us who are not well versed in the science and health field, here are signs that indicate that stress is making you sick.
- Palpitations – Although palpitations can be caused by other health related problems such as anemia and hyperthyroidism, having palpitations can also be a sign that someone is feeling anxious.
- Hyperventilating – Due to stress, we can also experience hyperventilating. This is evident when someone is getting worked up and breathing really fast.
- Sweating – of course sweating is normal, but in the coolest and driest place on earth, where one would usually not be able to, stress can cause people to sweat.
- Nausea – This is when you get nauseous for no clear reason, you do not have acid reflux or any consumption of bad food. Getting nauseous on a regular basis is NOT normal and may be a sign of heightened stress.
- Irritable Bowel – Chronic stress can cause an imbalance of a gut’s bacteria, as stress releases hormones that impact the gut negatively. This may result in a person developing “IBS” or Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
- Decreased Sleep – Stress is mainly because of having too many problems, problems that we tend to think about too much. This becomes a block for us in achieving a long peaceful sleep.
- Overthinking – Worrying is very common in people who are juggling a lot of things simultaneously. Overthinking is having thoughts of bad things happening, as a result of too much stress.
While medication may provide temporary relief to stress symptoms, it is essential to explore alternative methods to manage stress without relying solely on pharmaceuticals. By adopting healthy lifestyle habits and incorporating stress-reducing techniques into our daily routines, we can make stress more manageable. Incorporating relaxation procedures such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, affirmations, or hobbies such as painting, playing instruments can all contribute to reducing tension and promoting a sense of calmness. Getting emotional help is also a good way of battling stress symptoms, counseling and having a solid support system as outlets of our problems can be really helpful.
Dr. Kre Johnson is a Board Certified Family Medicine Physician and the sole owner of Brownstone Healthcare and Aesthetics. She is the Medical Director of the City of Birmingham’s Employee Health Clinic-Brownstone BWell Birmingham. She is the Event Producer of Wifeology and the founder of Three Twenty Girls, Inc. She loves God, traveling, and all things Southern!!
Brownstone BWell: Brownstone Healthcare has partnered with the City of Birmingham to offer primary care services to the employees of the City of Birmingham for $0 copayment. This partnership is for preventative services & screenings and sick visits. We partner with your current primary care physician and our goal is to keep you out of the ER and urgent care. We do not share your information with the City of Birmingham. We uphold HIPPA and professional standards. You can visit us at our downtown location 1700 5th Ave N Birmingham, AL 35203 or Trussville: 4643 Camp Coleman Road #117 Trussville, AL 35173 205-202-5650 call for your appointment today.