Have you ever been so stressed that you felt nauseous, queasy and sick to your stomach? Sharon Horesh Bergquist, Emory University professor of medicine, explains via a TED Ed video how stress affects our body. A recent Atlantic article explains how “when you’re stressed, the adrenal glands ramp up the release of the hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. Adrenaline speeds up your heart rate and can raise blood pressure. Cortisol causes changes in the blood vessels that can, over time, increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. Meanwhile, the brain relays the stress signals to the gut, which changes up its routine to allow your body to focus on the stressor.”
If you experience chronic stress from your job or some other aspects of your life, it will eventually cause damage on your body and mind. Some side effects include acne, hair loss, muscle tension, fatigue, irritability, and shorter life spans. “Cortisol increases appetite and prompts the body to put on deep-belly fat. That fat releases compounds called cytokines, which in turn raise the risk of developing chronic diseases.” When it’s chronic, it dampens the functioning of your immune system – it will slow healing times and make you more vulnerable to infection.