The bodily changes that happen during moments of stress can be very helpful when they happen for a short time. But when this happens for a long period of time, producing too many stress hormones can affect your health. Health problems can include:
- Digestive system: Stomach pains, due to a slow-down in the rate that the stomach empties after eating; also diarrhoea due to more activity in the colon.
- Obesity: Increase in appetite, which can lead to weight gain. Being overweight or obese puts you at risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
- Immune system: Weakened immune system so that you are more likely to have colds or other infections.
- Nervous system: Anxiety, depression, loss of sleep, and lack of interest in physical activity. Memory and decision-making can also be affected.
- Cardiovascular system: Increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and the level of fats in your blood (cholesterol and triglycerides). Also, increase in blood glucose levels, especially in the evening, and appetite. All of these are risk factors for heart disease, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), stroke, obesity, and diabetes.
Take the stress questionnaires here to see if you have chronic stress problems