Stress doesn’t only have an affect on your emotional and mental wellbeing; it can also have serious affects on your physical health. Physical symptoms of stress do not usually manifest until one experiences a severe case of short term or long term stress. Depending on the type of stress a person suffers from, usually determines the symptoms they experience.
First well take a look at the short term physical symptoms that are commonly associated with severe cases of stress, followed by long term physical symptoms. Keep in mind that the signs and symptoms that will be discussed below may not be the only ones experienced, and that not everyone suffers from the same physical stress symptoms.
Physical symptoms related to short term stress
- Breathing rapidly
- Cold hands and feet
- Cool skin
- Dry mouth
- Fast heart beat
- Nausea or unsettled stomach “butterflies in the stomach”
- Tension in muscles
- Sweating excessively
- Urge to urinate
The symptoms that occur during short term stress are how your body is responding to what it perceives as a physical threat, and is the result of adrenaline release. Although these symptoms are unpleasant, they are signs that your body is readying itself for high performance or survival.
Physical symptoms related to long term stress
- Body aches and pains including back pain
- Chest pain and irregular heartbeat
- Change in appetite
- Chronic fatigue
- Immune system suppression
- Hair loss
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Increase or decrease in weight
- Illnesses such as: Asthma, Arthritis, Cold virus (frequent cases), Digestive disorders (IE ulcers), Periodontal disease, Jaw pain
- Reproductive issues such as a missed menstruation cycle
- Sexual disorder
- Skin problems
These above symptoms are a sign of severe long term stress and are the result of your body being exposed to adrenaline for a prolonged period of time. As you probably are aware, adrenaline readies your body for action by redirecting resources to muscles from the parts of the body that perform body maintenance. Therefore, if your body is exposed to adrenaline for a continuous period, your physical health may begin to deteriorate.
Severe stress can lead to a number of health illnesses and conditions, as mentioned above. However, it can also make existing conditions even worse. If you have severe stress you shouldn’t ignore your condition or think it will go away on its own. You need to find relief by making lifestyle changes that allow you to relax and cope with the situations that are causing you stress. If natural forms of stress relief do not work, you need to seek the help and support of your health care provider before your condition becomes even more dangerous to your health and wellbeing.
In addition, don’t forget that severe cases of stress doesn’t only affect the sufferer, it can also affect their family, friends and co-workers. Take control of stress, don’t let stress control your life.