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    How to combat stress in your life

     

    How stress affects your body

    In case you are not aware, stress is good in short doses.

    But large daily doses over years is bad.

    How does stress affect the body? According to the American Psychological Association, the effects are many.1

    • Musculoskeletal: Stress causes us to tense our muscles, resulting in migraines and headaches, chronically painful musculoskeletal disorders, and injury

    • Respiratory: Increased respiration or breathing harder can trigger asthma and panic attacks

    • Cardiovascular: Acute stress elevates adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol, and prolonged stress increases risk of hypertension, heart attack, and stroke. The insidious connection is that chronic stress leads to inflammation of the circulatory system, particularly within the coronary arteries and may increase cholesterol levels. This is particularly true for post-menopausal women who no longer have the protection of estrogen

    • Endocrine: Under stress, the hypothalamus signals the secretion of epinephrine and cortisol, so the liver produces more glucose. This is dangerous for those vulnerable to diabetes

    • Gastrointestinal: Stress can increase heartburn and acid reflux, cause ulcers or stomach pain, and increase irritable bowel syndrome

    • Nervous system: Long-term stress can result in long term energy loss, memory loss, and reduction in immune system strength.2

    • I won’t belabor how stress affects the reproductive system; it is to upsetting for me to include.

    Based upon this list, I should now be suffering from migraines, GERD, and IBS, crippled, hypertensive, highly asthmatic, fat, and diabetic.

    Related: Why patient education is bit like fortune telling

    Tracy Schroeder Swartz, OD, MS, FAAO
    Tracy Schroeder Swartz currently practices at Madison Eye Care Center in Madison, Alabama. She serves as Education Chair for the ...

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