11 Most Extreme Consequences Of Prolonged Stress + Solution

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Preventing And Solving Heart and Vascular Diseases Due to Stress

You may already know that long-term stress has a negative influence on how you feel.

You feel rushed, you are grumpy and you worry drowsy.

Prolonged stress can also make you physically ill.

If you experience complaints for which your doctor cannot find an explanation, stress can be the cause.

Stress is like a silent killer. Stress slowly approaches, stealthily takes control of your body and mind, and then strikes inexorably.

Read more about the 11 most extreme consequences of stress in this article. Be aware of your situation!

Purpose of this article:  I will explain to you what influence stress exerts on your body and what the extreme consequences of stress can be.

In addition, I will tell you how you can prevent stress from damaging your health.


How does stress affect your body?

Influence on your brain

Have you ever thought about what exactly stress does to your brain? Probably not …

In order to inform you as best as possible about the dangers of stress, I went looking for it.

And I’m pretty shocked at what I’ve found out!

For more than 50 years, research has been conducted into the effect of stress on the body’s central nervous system.

Several studies have shown that stress has a very negative impact on our central nervous system and brain.

Stress can literally shrink your brain!

I will discuss the negative consequences of this a bit later in this article.


Influence on your immune system

Have you had a cold very often lately? Will that one wound continue to fester? Do skin complaints arise?

Research has shown that it is no coincidence that you get sick more often when you are under stress.

Stress hormones limit the functioning of your immune system.

Woman holds head because of stress

If your body receives the signal that it is in danger under the influence of stress hormones, it gives priority to acute threatening situations.

Your body then no longer finds it so important to fight viruses, bacteria or fungi. This makes you sick faster.

Unfortunately, that’s not all… Stress can also have a negative impact on your cardiovascular system.


Influence on your cardiovascular system

A 1999 study by American cardiologist Alan Rozanski found that both acute and chronic stress can have a very damaging effect on the cardiovascular system.

You’ve probably noticed yourself that your heart can pound quite a bit when you’re scared or startled. This accelerated heart rate arises because your body thinks it is in danger.

When your body feels threatened, it produces stress hormones. These trigger all kinds of reactions, such as an accelerated heart rate and a higher blood pressure.

Heart rate under stress

You will learn more about the dangerous consequences of this later in this article.

We’re not there yet… stress can also affect your gastrointestinal tract.


Influence on your gastrointestinal tract

My Blessed Grandmother claimed that you could get an ulcer from stress.

She wasn’t quite right… A stomach ulcer is caused by bacteria or by using drugs. But that stress is harmful to your gastrointestinal system is correct!

Gastrointestinal System

The problem mainly lies in the fact that the absorption process and the permeability of the intestines are disrupted under the influence of stress hormones. These stress hormones also affect the mucus and stomach acid balance of your gastrointestinal system.

Read the next section carefully to find out what the consequences of this could be.

I hope you already understand that the consequences of stress are not minor. Let’s take a closer look at them.

Woman with stress
  • Read more about avoiding the dangerous consequences of work stress in this article .

The Dangerous Effects of Stress on Your Body

#1 You are more susceptible to viruses and bacteria

Your immune system doesn’t work as well as a result of stress. This makes it easier for you to catch a cold.

Until then… everyone catches a cold every now and then. A cold is not nice, but in itself it is not life-threatening.

It gets worse if you get pneumonia, intestinal inflammation or hepatitis. Chronic stress can indeed make you more prone to these diseases!

Sick woman with hands on belly

You are also more sensitive to bacterial infections if your immune system works less well. You are then more susceptible to meningitis, bacterial pneumonia and bladder infections.

Harmful bacteria from food will also enter your body more easily. This increases the risk of food infections. A typical example of this is a salmonella contamination.

If your immune system is not working properly, you can also become more susceptible to STDs.

Woman with STD test

This immediately brings us to another consequence of stress.


#2 Stress negatively affects your love life

Sex can be a fun way to relieve stress. However, stress can also put you out of a mood faster.

After all, you are already so busy that you no longer have time for this at all. Or you have so much on your mind that you don’t feel like having sex at all.

However, there is also a physical explanation for why stress makes you less interested in sex: the stress hormone cortisol suppresses the effect of testosterone.

Two people in love close to each other

The hormone testosterone stimulates sexual desire. If the effect of this hormone is suppressed, you simply have less sex drive.

In the long run, a lack of intimacy with your partner can cause a lot of relationship problems.


#3 Stress is bad for your heart

Under the influence of stress hormones, your heart has to work hard all the time.

Your heart will beat faster and contract harder. This puts more pressure on your veins and you get a higher blood pressure.

Explanation of heart problems as a result of stress

The faster your heart has to work, the more difficult it is to provide all organs with the necessary oxygen. Your heart is an organ that needs oxygen. If this is not enough, you can have a heart attack.

High blood pressure can damage the walls of your arteries. This allows all kinds of substances to enter your veins. If these substances accumulate, they obstruct the blood supply.

Worse,  if these build-ups become inflamed, your arteries can calcify over time. Both accumulations of harmful substances and calcified arteries can cause a stroke.

Stress also indirectly affects your heart and blood vessels. If you smoke, you reach for a cigarette more often when you are under stress. You also reach for carbohydrate-rich foods or sugars more quickly.

And you may have noticed that you drink alcohol more often to feel a little calmer. I probably don’t need to explain to you why these unhealthy habits are dangerous for your heart and blood vessels.

Man with glass of alcohol

#4 Stress gives you gastrointestinal complaints

You could read earlier that stress hormones can seriously disrupt the functioning of your stomach and intestines.

When your body experiences stress, it sends all energy to the organs that help you survive. Digestion suddenly doesn’t seem so important anymore.

Stress also makes you eat a lot of unhealthy food. You don’t have the courage to cook a healthy meal after a busy day at work.

Woman with hand over mouth, unhealthy food

During a busy day you reach for unhealthy snacks more often and maybe you drink lots of coffee. These unhealthy habits are also harmful to your stomach and intestines.

The most common complaints are stomach pain, constipation and diarrhea. But did you know that stress can also be at the root of irritable bowel syndrome ?


#5 Stress makes your brain shrink

Chronic stress can cause structural changes in your brain.

Perhaps the term ‘structural changes’ does not immediately mean something to you.

human brain

Can’t think properly anymore?

Do you find it difficult to concentrate?

Do you not remember certain things very well?

Well, the cause of these complaints is precisely the ‘structural changes’ in your brain. And these are worrying!

Chronic stress can lead to premature loss of brain tissue (atrophy). So your brain will literally shrink. This makes it harder for your brain to do its job.

You get concentration problems, you often forget things and you can’t think very well.

Woman with hands on sleep, brain in background

Scientific research has also shown a link between stress and Alzheimer ‘s or dementia .


#6 Stress can cause skin problems

Because stress affects your immune system, you are also more prone to skin disorders. After all, fungi that cause skin disorders are no longer effectively combated.

You become more sensitive to foot and nail fungi or ringworm. A flaky skin is not beautiful, but also very annoying.

Woman with skin problems scratches arm

Very often, fungal infections are accompanied by irritation and itching. Scratching can cause bacteria to get into the wounds, which further increase the symptoms.


#7 Stress is bad for your teeth and gums

When you are under stress, you tend to clench your teeth.

The pressure on your teeth causes your tooth enamel to wear out faster. Pieces of enamel can even jump off your teeth and your teeth can break as a result.

Stress is also one of the main causes of teeth grinding. You can do this unconsciously both in your sleep and during the day. This is also very harmful to the enamel of your teeth.

Man grinding teeth due to stress

The worse your teeth are, the greater the risk of gum disease. Painful and bleeding gums are the consequences of this.

Add to this unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, snacking or drinking alcohol and you immediately understand why stress is so harmful to your teeth and gums.


#8 Stress promotes overweight

Stress causes obesity in different ways.

  • You eat more irregularly.
  • You reach for fast sugars and carbohydrates more often.
  • The amount of anti-stress hormone serotonin (happiness hormone) decreases, so that you experience an ’empty’ feeling more often and you eat more.
  • Cortisol increases insulin resistance, causing your body to produce more insulin. Insulin, in turn, leads to weight gain.

However, this insulin resistance has another dangerous consequence.

Woman can't close pants due to being overweight

You can get diabetes from stress

When your body is in danger, it needs a lot of energy to be able to ‘fight’ or ‘flight’.

Under the influence of cortisol, this energy is supplied in the form of glucose. The more glucose in your body, the higher your blood sugar level and the more insulin your body needs to lower it.

Cortisol also has a negative influence on the production and functioning of insulin. If you produce too little insulin or the insulin cannot do its job properly, this can lead to diabetes.


#9 You control your emotions less well

Research from 2013 by the American neurologist Candace M. Raio shows how little stress it takes to lose your cool.

During the study, subjects were exposed to a very mild form of stress. They dipped their hands in icy water and were then shown pictures of snakes or spiders.

Woman screams and holds her head

Although these subjects did not suffer from arachnophobia or snake fear at all, they reacted very emotionally.

If even a slight amount of stress can make it harder for you to control your emotions, you can imagine how damaging chronic stress is.


#10 A burnout due to stress

One of the most dangerous consequences of stress is burnout. With a burnout you feel physically and mentally exhausted.

It is interesting to know that a burnout occurs in different phases.

Man lies with his head on his arms due to burnout

Phase 1

A new job or a new challenge gives you a lot of satisfaction in the beginning. You put in the full 100% and you are bursting with energy.

You may realize that you are taking too much on your plate, but you want to reach your goals at all costs.

Level 2

Slowly, some days become more difficult than others. Your optimism and enthusiasm are diminishing somewhat.

However, you continue to participate in this ‘rat race’ because you still want to succeed in your objectives. Even if you experience some stress symptoms every now and then, you keep going.

Woman with head on pillow

Phase 3

It gets harder and harder and you fall prey to stress. You react more and more emotionally, feel exhausted and are very critical of yourself and others. It feels like you are about to lose control of everything.

Sometimes you get  anxiety attacks , but still deny the problem. Yet you notice that you occasionally make mistakes and that you can no longer concentrate properly. You feel tired and get all kinds of mental and physical complaints.

Phase 4

Mental and physical complaints increase. You lose control of your life and it becomes more and more difficult to deal with everything. You start behaving differently and you no longer pay attention to the signals of your body.

Woman with severe pain in her neck

Ideally, you want to cut yourself off from society as a whole and you avoid social contacts. You are in danger of falling prey to social anxiety disorders . You feel exhausted and you see everything gloomy.

Don’t wait until phase 4 to sound the alarm! Make sure you slow down in time because it could be worse!


#11 Stress can lead to depression

Depression is actually the last stage of a burnout. The complaints are so entrenched in your life that you can no longer see a way out.

These were 11 important (and dangerous) consequences of stress.

Woman cringed with depression

I make a warm appeal not to let it come to that.

Manage stress before it takes control of your mind and body!

Not sure how to do this?

No worries! I can help you with this.


Prevent and cure extreme consequences of stress?

Especially for you I wrote an e-book about how to prevent and cure all these stress-related dangers.

I hope you realize what stress can do to your body and mind. I also hope that you understand how important it is to live life with less stress or even completely stress-free.

 

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