Healthy Living

7 Signs Your Stress Is Making You Sick

Mercy Health | Mar 16 2018
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Do you have a headache that never seems to fade or muscles that feel like they’re in a constant state of fatigue? Even if you don’t have these symptoms, it’s likely that you’re somewhat familiar with chronic stress, acute stress or both, which arise when we’re faced with a situation that makes us worry. But stress doesn’t just cause negative feelings; the effects of stress on health and your body and well-being are numerous. Here are some signs that stress may be impacting your health more than you initially thought.

Your Head Is Pounding

Learning how stress affects your health starts with recognizing some of the common symptoms. One of the most prevalent is a tension-type headache that doesn’t seem to quit. When you’re stressed, it’s normal for your muscles to tighten up, especially if you’re feeling extra anxious or worried on top of it. This leads to headaches and neck aches.

It Shows on Your Skin

If your skin has been clear since your teenage years but you’re now finding it inflamed or broken out, this reaction could be due to short- or long-term stress. When you’re stressed, your body produces a hormone called cortisol. This hormone can cause your skin to ramp up its oil production and cell turnover, which leads to clogged pores.

Your Blood Pressure Is High

Even if your blood pressure is typically a solid 120/80, stress can cause your sympathetic nervous system to jump into overdrive to help your body respond to a perceived threat (yep, the stress). When this happens, your blood pressure jumps. This isn’t too harmful when it happens during rare, shorter periods. But when you experience chronic high blood pressure in response to stress, this can damage your arteries and heart.

Your Digestion Is Disrupted

Having excess cortisol and other stress hormones coursing around your body isn’t great for digestion, either. These hormones can change the way your body processes food and uses nutrients, which might result in nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps or diarrhea.

It Shows in Your Mouth

Your nervous, stressed energy also has the potential to cause changes in your teeth. The clenched muscles that accompany psychological stress might make you tighten your jaw without even realizing it. At night, stress-induced teeth grinding can wear down your tooth enamel and even create fractures.

You’re Exhausted

Stress and its accompanying anxiety create a recipe for tossing and turning at night, and this can lead to feelings of fatigue throughout the day — not just when you’re finally waking up in the morning. Your brain and the rest of your body physically respond to stress. When your systems tire out from being on guard, this can make your mind and muscles feel exhausted.

You Actually Get Sick

The most straightforward way to tell if your stress is making you sick is if you frequently fall ill. If you’ve been going through periods of stress and seem to be catching colds or the flu more often than you typically do, this is a sure a sign that it’s time to slow down, learn stress-management techniques and relax so your body can heal.

Help for relieving stress is just a call away. Contact us at 513-952-5000 to make an appointment with a primary care doctor or specialist. Together, we can figure out supportive ways to address your worries and lower stress and the effects of stress on health.


Mercy Health


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