If left untreated, chronic stress can lead to health conditions like insomnia, anxiety, muscle pain, impaired immune system response and hypertension. Other symptoms of stress include dry mouth, allergy attacks, sweaty palms, stuttering, weight fluctuations, eating disorders, bruxism, chest pains and sweaty palms and feet, according to the American Institute of Stress.
Unlike minor episodes of stress, chronic stress is a more persistent type of stress, which can last for extended periods. This makes chronic stress more psychologically taxing and can also become physically debilitating. Studies on chronic stress shows that it is a contributing factor to serious medical conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity and depression.
Chronic stress is sometimes caused when normal everyday stressors are not properly dealt with and are ignored. It can also be caused by being a witness or being involved in traumatic events. Approximately 33 percent of Americans do not discuss their issues with stress with their doctors, according to the APA's Stress in America survey.
The important step in stress management is to identify its causes and changing one's behavior in dealing with it. Proper diet and increased physical activity through exercise can also help one manage stress much better. A study conducted on protection and damage from acute and chronic stress suggests that chronic stress can be managed and treated with changes in one's lifestyle and behavior, therapy and, in some cases, through medication.