5 Health Consequences of Unmanaged Stress

Nov 01, 2023
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Feeling stressed out? Occasional stress is normal but chronic stress can wreak havoc on your health. Learn the consequences of unmanaged stress.

Everyone experiences stress from time to time. Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. In some cases, stress is healthy because it motivates you to protect yourself or others from danger, meet a deadline, or achieve your goals. However, when stress becomes chronic and unmanaged, it can have serious repercussions.

Stress is a common part of military life, and the pressure often continues into retirement. At Internal Expressions: Resetting Health and Life, located in Aldie, Virginia, Navy veteran Michael Williams is a trained coach who can teach you techniques to help you manage and minimize the stress in your life.

Here, Michael explains what can happen to your physical and mental health if you don’t find healthy ways to manage your stress.

1. Cardiovascular issues

Chronic stress can increase blood pressure, heart rate, and inflammation. These factors and others related to stress, such as weight gain and sleeplessness, can affect your heart health. 

2. Obesity

Many people turn to food when feeling stressed and anxious, hence the term “stress-eating.”  Turning to food for comfort happens because when you’re stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol, which increases your appetite. Unfortunately, it also affects your food choices, with many people turning to high-fat, high-sugar foods.

3. Weakened immune system

In addition to releasing cortisol when stressed, your body also decreases its production of lymphocytes, which are white blood cells that help fight off infections. As a result, you’re more susceptible to colds and flu. Additionally, inflammation caused by stress affects your body’s ability to ward off viruses and other unhealthy invaders.

4. Gastrointestinal problems

Stress can wreak havoc on the digestive system, causing or exacerbating gastrointestinal issues. Think about a time when you were nervous about a presentation or date and had butterflies in your stomach. 

Stress can intensify those feelings so that those fluttery butterflies turn into stomach pain and cramps. Additionally, stress can intensify gastrointestinal issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), reflux, and peptic ulcers. 

5. Sleeplessness

Sleep and stress affect each other. Lack of sleep can cause stress and stress can interfere with your sleep quality and quantity. One way stress interferes with sleep is that your mind often races at night, causing you to think about the stressors in your life, whether it’s a relationship, your job, or money issues. 

At Internal Expressions: Resetting Health and Life, Michael Williams can help you develop effective skills to help you manage stress, improve sleep, and boost your energy and resilience. Call for an appointment today, or request one online.