Everything to Know About the Effects of Stress on the Body
July 18, 2023
Stress is the normal physical and mental reaction to everyday life experiences. From work responsibilities to family duties to the death of a loved one or a significant medical diagnosis, effects of stress on the body can be caused by a number of different things. When we’re stressed, our bodies go into fight-or-flight mode. During this time, stress hormones trigger your body to react with a variety of stress-related symptoms such as a racing heart or having shorter breaths. Here is everything to know about the effects of stress on the body:
Effects on the Central Nervous System
Your central nervous system is what moderates the body’s fight-or-flight response. The hypothalamus in the brain tells your adrenal glands to release the stress hormones of adrenaline and cortisol when exposed to stress. These hormones cause your heart rate to shoot up and flood blood to areas that need it the most in case of an emergency like the muscles, heart and other vital organs. When the perceived fear (or stress) is gone, the central nervous system returns to normal and symptoms dissipate.
Effects on the Respiratory & Cardiovascular Systems
Your body’s stress response causes you to breathe heavier in an effort to quickly spread oxygen-rich blood to your body. Stress can complicate existing breathing problems such as asthma or emphysema. When stressed, the heart begins to pump blood at a faster rate. Stress hormones make the blood vessels constrict, diverting additional oxygen to the muscles so you’ll have the strength needed to take action. This process raises the blood pressure which can be an issue under frequent stress when the heart has to work for too hard and too long. Increased blood pressure makes you more at risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Effects on the Reproductive System
Because constant stress is both physically and mentally exhausting, it can lower sexual desire and cause a loss of libido. Extended periods of stress in men can cause a drop in testosterone levels. A drop in testosterone can hinder sperm production and cause erectile dysfunction or impotence. Men who are stressed see an increase in the risk of infection of male reproductive organs like the prostate and testes. For women, stress can interfere with the menstrual cycle. It can cause heavier, irregular or more painful periods. Chronic stress can exacerbate the physical symptoms of menopause.
Effects on the Immune System
Stress stimulates the immune system, which at first can be a positive to manage certain situations but over time can weaken your immune system. Stress hormones impede your body’s ability to respond to foreign invaders. People experiencing chronic stress are more likely to catch a viral illness such as the flu or the common cold. High levels of stress can cause you to need more time to recover from an illness.
Products Providing Stress Relief
North Century Pharmacy is proud to offer a number of products that can provide you with relief from stress. Daily Stress Formula is a broad-spectrum supplement that promotes mental relaxation and moderates the effects of occasional stress. Stress B-Complex provides nutrients that work together throughout the body to promote cellular energy production, healthy red blood cell formation, cognitive function and mood. Stress Balance is a combination of key adaptogen botanicals, B vitamins, vitamin C and zinc that work to help the adrenal glands optimize their response to stress.
You’re up to speed on understanding the many different effects of stress on the body! Schedule your telehealth appointment today at North Century Pharmacy to learn more about how you can best manage stress in your life!