10 Ways Stress Harms Your Health
We all know stress isn’t great but did you know that long term stress can have some very severe consequences for your health? I am going to share with you the 10 ways stress harms your health.
What is the stress hormone?
Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, which are located on top of the kidneys. It belongs to a class of hormones called glucocorticoids. Cortisol plays a crucial role in the body and is involved in several important functions.
Cortisol is often referred to as the “stress hormone” because it is released in response to stress. When the body perceives a threat or stressor, such as a physical danger or emotional stress, the adrenal glands release cortisol into the bloodstream. Cortisol helps the body cope with stress by mobilizing energy reserves, increasing blood sugar levels, and suppressing non-essential functions like digestion and immune response.
What health problems are caused by stress?
Unfortunately long term stress with constant cortisol release can lead to problems with the following :
- Impaired cognitive function: High cortisol levels can interfere with memory, concentration.
- Suppressed immune system: Cortisol suppresses the immune response, making the body more susceptible to infections.
- Weight gain: Elevated cortisol levels can contribute to weight gain, particularly around the abdomen, as cortisol promotes the storage of fat and increases appetite.
- Muscle and bone loss: Prolonged high cortisol levels can lead to muscle wasting and weakened bones, increasing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
- Sleep disturbances: Cortisol disrupts the normal sleep cycle, leading to difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep.
- Elevated blood pressure: Cortisol promotes the constriction of blood vessels and increases blood pressure, which, over time, can contribute to hypertension and cardiovascular problems.
- Mood disorders: High cortisol levels can negatively impact mood, leading to increased anxiety, irritability, depression, and decreased overall well-being.
- Digestive issues: Cortisol affects the digestive system by reducing blood flow to the digestive organs, potentially causing problems such as indigestion.
- Impaired reproductive health: Elevated cortisol levels can disrupt the reproductive system, affecting menstrual cycles in women and reducing libido and fertility in both men and women.
- Accelerated aging: Chronic high cortisol levels can contribute to accelerated aging processes, including the breakdown of collagen, leading to the appearance of wrinkles, sagging skin, and other signs of premature aging.
It’s important to note that cortisol is a vital hormone that plays a role in various bodily functions.However, prolonged, or excessive elevation of cortisol levels can have detrimental effects on the body’s overall health and well-being.
If you need help with stress management and support, please book in a consult here.
You might like to read some more of my blogs.