5 Ways You Didn't Know Stress Impacts Your Health

5 Ways You Didn't Know Stress Impacts Your Health

Stress affects every system in your body, including your cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems. Your body is designed to handle brief, short-term bouts of stress, and it does a good job of it.

The problem we see today is long-term or chronic stress, which can have detrimental effects on your health.

At Monarque Health and Wellness Center, our team of esteemed health professionals provides comprehensive family functional medicine and dermatology care at our Ashland, Oregon, office.

Stress management is an often-overlooked aspect of wellness. Stress not only increases the risk of certain health problems, but can also worsen existing issues. 

To raise awareness of the negative impact of stress on health, we put together some helpful information so you learn the importance of reining in your stress. Here are five ways stress impacts your health. 

1. Stress contributes to chronic pain

Stress has a major impact on the musculoskeletal system. When you’re in a state of stress, muscles become tense. Lasting tension can contribute to chronic pain, especially pain in the neck, back, and shoulders. Stress can also trigger tension headaches.

Millions of people live with chronic pain, and many cite stress as a common trigger. Reining in stress can help you better manage chronic pain conditions. 

2. Stress is bad for the heart

Chronic stress damages your heart and blood vessels. When you experience brief stress, your heart rate increases and your body releases stress hormones that impact the cardiovascular system. Once the stress is over, cardiovascular function returns to normal. 

Chronic stress, on the other hand, takes a constant toll on the heart and blood vessels. In fact, long-term stress increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure.

Inflammation is at the root of chronic stress, and ongoing inflammatory substances contribute to the negative impact on the cardiovascular system.

3. Stress damages gut health

Your gut is home to millions of neurons that are constantly communicating with the brain. Stress can interfere with gut-brain communication and can trigger gastrointestinal issues, including bloating and abdominal discomfort.

What’s more, stress is linked to changes in gut bacteria, which in turn increases gut inflammation.

The gut microbiome contains microorganisms that live symbiotically. Your body maintains a balance of healthy bacteria, which keeps harmful bacteria in check. Harmful changes in gut bacteria can impact your mood, digestion, and even energy levels.

4. Stress messes with your sleep

Stress is downright disruptive to sleep, resulting in difficulty falling asleep, problems staying asleep, and poor sleep quality. People with a family history of sleep problems are more likely to experience disrupted sleep when stressed.

Sleep is vital to your overall health. When you’re asleep, your body balances hormones, heals and removes damaged cells, and keeps nerve cells healthy. Even short-term sleep disruptions can affect your health.

5. Stress can make it harder to conceive

How stress hurts your chances of having a baby is not fully understood. However, chronic stress is linked to fertility problems. In one study, women with elevated stress markers took close to 30% longer to get pregnant compared with women who have lower stress.     

Chronic stress is often a vicious cycle with multiple factors. As functional medicine practitioners, we recognize the impact stress has on health. Our team can create an individualized wellness protocol that can help you break the cycle of chronic stress and improve your health.

To get started, reach out to a team member at our office by calling 541-326-4777 to schedule an appointment with one of our providers. Your wellness is our top priority. 

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