We all experience stress from time to time, but overtime, chronic stress can start to take a toll on your body. In some cases, acute stress can benefit our health by boosting our immune system. Prolonged stress, though, does quite the opposite and puts many organs and bodily functions at risk. This is because stress begins to change your immune system and bodily functions. It can suppress your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness.
If you’re frequently ill or concerned that your stress levels are contributing to your illnesses, there are signs you can notice that will reveal if stress is the culprit. Below you will uncover these signs and symptoms that reveal if chronic stress is to be blamed for you becoming sick.
Your teeth are fractured or damaged: When you’re stressed, you may be more inclined to grind your teeth either when you’re awake or asleep—or in some cases, both. This constant grinding can cause your teeth to become damaged.
You’re gaining weight: Even if you’re sticking to your diet and exercising regularly, the scale can still go up. This is because chronic stress can cause your hormones to go awry, often making you hungry. This means your desire to eat increases and without you realizing it, you’re increasing your caloric intake. Furthermore, your cravings for unhealthy foods increases too, so you’re more likely to opt for fried or high-sugar foods.
You have high blood pressure: When we experience acute stress, our bodies go into fight-or-flight mode, which is a protection mechanism. When this occurs, our blood pressure spikes to help us escape the situation that is causing us stress. When you’re chronically stressed, your blood pressure could remain high, which can cause damage to your arteries over time.
You have joint pain: Stress can also trigger inflammation which, in moderation, can protect the body. But in high amounts, it is quite detrimental and can trigger joint pain. This is worse among individuals who have autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
You experience more digestive-related problems: Stress has been found to change the way our gut works. The breakdown of food, transporting nutrients, and digestion as a whole can become negatively impacted as a result of chronic stress. You may experience stomach cramping, diarrhea, or constipation as a result.
Your skin is breaking out: The stress hormone cortisol can increase oil release from the skin, which makes you prone to more breakouts.
You’re always tired: Even if you’re getting adequate hours of sleep, numerous studies have shown that chronic stress can still leave you feeling fatigued. This is because stress causes your body to experience anxiety, which can be taxing on the body and leaves you feeling tired.
You experience headaches: Tension headaches can be caused by stress.
If any of these signs and symptoms resonate with you, then you will want to get your stress levels in check immediately before long-term damage and problems begin to take effect.