What Can Excess Stress Cause to Your Body?


Quick Answer

Chronic, heavy stress can cause or worsen mental health ailments, cardiovascular disease, obesity, gastrointestinal disorders and sexual dysfunction, states WebMD. Acne, psoriasis, eczema and other skin and hair problems can also occur, in addition to permanent hair loss. Women who undergo chronic stress are at increased risk for developing menstrual problems. Although it is impossible to avoid all forms of stress, people experiencing serious, ongoing stress should seek medical attention.

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Full Answer

Stress occurs when the body undergoes chemical reactions designed to incite a flight-or-fight response, explains WebMD. Harmful situations, real or imagined, trigger this response. Common signs of stress include increased heart rate, quickened breathing, a clenching or tightening of muscles, and heightened blood pressure. Individuals react differently to stress, as some are more affected by it than others. Although long-term stress is always unhealthy, small amounts of it can be beneficial.

Stress has a wide array of emotional, behavioral, mental and physical symptoms, according to WebMD. Some physical symptoms include low energy, headaches and chest pain, while mental symptoms may entail lack of focus and poor judgement. Changes in appetite, procrastination and increased use of alcohol and drugs are behavioral changes. Emotional symptoms include constant worrying, being easily agitated and depression.

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