Stress complicates our health. It is the source of illnesses.
There’s no denying the fact that in other to survive in the modern world, it is compulsory for one to live a life of stress. Because our world as it is today seems to have been programmed to accommodate only the fittest of the fittest.
For some time now, scientists have been calling out to society that stress complicates a host of health problems. They’ve even gone further to state that chronic stress, which happens to be a mainstay of modern life, doesn’t merely aggravate illnesses, it also causes it.
Unknown to most people, the human body reacts to stress by first pumping adrenaline, and then cortisol into the bloodstream to focus the mind and body for immediate action (This is a response that has ensured our survival for years now).
Particularly, the adrenaline rush from the initial stress response can occasionally pose health risks. But the more significant hazard is the subsequent release of cortisol.
Constant stress exposes the body to a relentless stream of cortisol, which causes inflammation to go wild as cells become desensitized to the hormone.
Long-term chronic inflammation, on the other hand, damages blood vessels and brain cells. It also leads to insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes) and promotes painful joint diseases.
And as quoted by Sheldon Cohen, a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh who has been at the forefront of stress research for 30 years, he said:
“We are just beginning to understand the ways that stress influences a wide range of diseases of aging, including heart disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and certain types of disability, even early death.”
Owing to this, we’ve decided to bring to your notice some sicknesses that can be caused by stress.
Here are 5 sicknesses that can be caused by stress:
1. Irritable bowel syndrome
IBS is a group of symptoms that include abdominal pain and changes in the pattern of bowel movements without any evidence of underlying damage.
These symptoms are believed to occur over a long time.
However, Irritable bowel syndrome has been classified into four main types depending on whether diarrhea is common, constipation is common, both are common, or neither occurs very often (IBS-D, IBS-C, IBS-M, or IBS-U respectively).
Though experts are yet to confirm the chief cause of IBS, 94% of British doctors surveyed by Buscopan IBS Relief said the most common trigger for their patients’ IBS flare-ups was stress.
Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings, and sense of well-being.
And while it is often triggered by a stress-inducing episode, depression eventually “takes on a life of its own,” says Huda Akil, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Michigan.
However, it is very important to warn here that stress has the ability to throw out of balance, several brain neurotransmitter systems. And included among them are serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
This does not only affect the mood negatively, it also alters the appetite, sleep, and libido.
Over the years scientists have tried in vain to find the perceived link between stress and heart attacks. However, things seem to be changing as a result of a recent study.
And according to the results of previous research, it was suggested that cortisol actually changes the texture of white blood cells; therefore encouraging the cells to attach themselves to blood vessel walls.
The result is plaque, a key marker of heart disease.
Insomnia, which is also known as sleeplessness, is a sleep disorder where people have trouble sleeping.
Sufferers of insomnia may have difficulty falling asleep, or staying asleep as long as desired. It is typically followed by daytime sleepiness, low energy, irritability, and a depressed mood.
However, it is important to state here that stress and sleepless nights have long gone hand in hand because the hormones caused by stress induce our bodies into what is known as hyperarousal.
And it is this hyper-arousal that disrupts the balance between sleep and wakefulness.
Be that as it may, it has been observed in most cases that reducing stress helps tackle sleeplessness. It also makes it easier to fall asleep and improves sleep quality as well.
5. Hair loss
Experts have confirmed that increased amounts of stress over long periods can actually cause hair loss.
Although not in all cases, hair loss is believed to be due to stress hormones causing the hair follicles to go into hibernation. It is the result of this that leads to the falling of hair when washed or brushed.