During different walks of life, as situations took you through dreadful turns, you experienced stress so many times. There is nothing that can describe it well in its entirety.
With many thoughts at the same time, you had felt uncomfortable feelings:
- Racing heart
- Dry mouth
- Clenched jaws
- Butterflies in the stomach
- Tight throat
- Reliance on smoking, drinking, and drugs
During stress, myriads of complex activities occur inside your body that you are unaware of. In short, stress causes more problems than you conceived.
Let’s explore some of them and let’s understand stress better.
Stress suppresses immunity
In trying to dodge the ball that will hit you, or while catching the phone that could fall from your hands, your body releases stress hormones.
It sends the necessary triggers in the right parts of your body so that you do the necessary action.
This short-lived stress doesn’t give you headaches. In fact, it is helpful, enabling you to respond in the right way.
However, in case of chronic or prolonged stress, levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) increase in the bloodstream.
This increase in cortisol levels impairs immune activity making you prone to diseases.
Stress swings appetite
You’ve heard it, or seen it, or been through it. That whenever caught up inside stress, the worrying man has cravings for food – junk food – like sweets. Such kind of overeating, in medical terms, is called hyperphagia.
Also, there are those times where one is so stressed that he does not have any desire to eat anything. This loss of appetite is termed as hypophagia.
At the hormonal level, stress triggers changes in your body that it affects your appetite.
Next time you run searching for burgers, and cakes or pastries, ask yourself, “Is it my mind or my body that’s asking for it?”
Stress messes sleep
Has it ever happened that something bugging you couldn’t let you fall asleep?
For athletes, it is the big game on the next day. For traders, it is the huge loss in the stock market. At the school, university, or workplace, it could be a serious concern that hit you like a nightmare.
You kept tossing and turning on the bed all night, trying various sleeping positions, yet it was unhelpful. Even a little sound can wake you up.
The sleep you get isn’t a quality sleep, and this reflects in the grumpy way your next day passes.
Stress aggravates diabetes
Insulin helps in storing glucose, which you get from food, into target cells through bloodstreams.
When the insulin is not sufficient or not working effectively, there becomes an excessive level of glucose in the bloodstream. This is diabetes, an excessive amount of glucose in your blood.
And stress does exactly that.
Whenever you are stressed, the stress-response hormones mobilize more glucose into the bloodstream.
This certainly does not help in keeping diabetes at bay.
Stress tampers memory
Hippocampus is a part of the brain vital to memory.
The brain essentially requires supply of oxygen and glucose. During stress, of a couple of hours, this supply becomes less.
The neurons in the hippocampus cannot excite under this condition. That does not help in strengthening the neurons associated with the memory.
And with prolonged stress, things get worse. There is loss of neuron connections (atrophy) in hippocampus changing the structure of neuron.
It can lead to strokes or seizures.
With the ongoing research on how the body works during stress, experts have challenged prior theories and proved some of them wrong. They’ve made discoveries and are studying them in more detail.
Stress leads to so many disorders, mentally and physically, that what you’ve read just now is not even a tiny pinch of it. Just to name a few more, chronic stress may make one prone to osteoporosis, PTSD, heart diseases, blood pressure, etc.