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The Physiological Effects of Stress

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013, 2:25 am

Most of us have had to deal with stress at some point in our lives, either for a brief period or chronically.  Whether caused by a job, divorce, parenthood, or simply everyday life, the condition can affect patients both physically and emotionally.  In fact,  roughly 43% of all adults experience adverse physical effects of stress.  So what exactly can stress do to our body?

Here is our list of the Top 5 Effects of Stress on the Body:

  1. High blood pressure. Stress has been shown to raise blood pressure in the short term, while chronic stress may cause blood pressure to be consistently high.  High blood pressure often presents no symptoms in its earliest stages, but can ultimately increase your risk for kidney failure, stroke, and heart attack.
  2. Weight gain. Long-term stress has also been shown to release certain appetite-increasing hormones, such as cortisol.  Additionally, many patients tend to overeat to cope with stress, often resulting in unwanted weight gain.
  3. Weakened immune system. Increased cortisol levels also tend to weaken or suppress the body’s immune system.  This can leave patients more prone to infection, colds, and the flu among others.
  4. Skin problems. Stress has also been linked to a worsening of several of today's most common skin conditions.  These include acne and eczema, which can affect a patient's appearance and their self-esteem.
  5. Pain. Excessive stress has been linked to muscular pain, likely due to the body not being able to regulate the inflammatory response.  Backaches are especially common, and those with underlying conditions like fibromyalgia and herniated discs can see their conditions aggravated.

Tips on How to Manage Stress:

While stress will likely affect us all at one point or another, there are ways we can manage it effectively.  Here are some of the top tips for relieving stress.

  1. Exercise. Exercise has been shown to reduce the effects of stress and improve one's mood.  Stretching can also relieve stress-induced muscle tension.
  2. Relaxation techniques. Many patients rely on breathing exercises and meditation techniques  to help "quiet the mind" and reduce stress symptoms.
  3. Consult your physician. Perhaps most importantly, those dealing with daily stress should consult with their physician.  This is an opportunity to assess a patient's overall health and learn more about managing and treating this condition.

Physician in New York

To learn more about treating stress, depression or anxiety, we encourage you contact us today and schedule a consultation.  Our offices are located in New York City, and you can reach us directly at (212) 932-7538.  We look forward to serving you.

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Category: Psychological Disorders, Stress


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