What Is the Effect of Stress?

Medically Reviewed on 5/17/2021

Effect of Stress

Stress is the body's response to a situation.
Stress is the body’s response to a situation.

Stress is the body’s response to a situation. It is typically a change in the environment that requires one’s body to react and adjust. These changes evoke physical, mental and emotional reactions in a person. Short-term stress will have no significant impact on the body. Long-term stress may cause various issues. The diseases that often arise due to long-standing stress are called psychosomatic diseases.

The human body can feel stress and react to it. There are two types of stress:

  • Eustress: It is positive stress. For example, the body might feel eustress when a person gets a job promotion or given greater responsibilities.
  • Distress: It is negative stress that a person faces when exposed to continuous challenges without relief or relaxation between challenges. Distress can cause physical symptoms, such as

The following are the effects of stress on the body:

  • Muscles and joints: According to American Psychological Association, stress can tense the muscle. Stress can cause
  • Additionally, stress can also exacerbate the symptoms of
  • Heart and lungs: Stress can have a significant effect on the heart. For example, when trying hard to meet a deadline at work, the heart rate can increase considerably. Stress can promote the release of the hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol can worsen any heart or lung conditions, including
  • Skin and hair: Stress can negatively impact skin and hair, causing
  • Besides, stress can also worsen conditions, such as
  • Shoulders, head and jaw: Stress can trigger:
    • Tension headaches
    • Migraines
    • Tightness in the neck and jaw
    • Spasms and knots in the neck and shoulders
  • Immune system: Stress can lower the body’s immune system. A depressed immune system can result in colds and flu. It can also aggravate autoimmune conditions, such as lupus and inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Mental health: Stress can often set off
  • Stress may also attribute to
    • Eating poorly
    • Lack of interest in any activities
  • Gastrointestinal system: Stress can interfere with the brain-gut communication and may trigger
  • Stress negatively influences the gut bacteria and can result in various digestion issues. Long-term stress can lead to irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Obesity: Excessive cortisol release can lead to overeating or binges. As a result, the body may store fat leading to obesity.
  • Reproductive problems: Stress can result in the following issues:
    • Less sexual desire
    • Infertility issues
    • Infections in the reproductive organs
    • Irregular and painful menses
    • Worsen the symptoms of postmenopausal syndrome
    • Hormonal imbalances

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Medically Reviewed on 5/17/2021
References
WebMD. Stress Symptoms. https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-symptoms-effects_of-stress-on-the-body

American Psychological Association. Stress Effects on the Body. November 1, 2018. https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/body