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Stress not only makes us feel more irritated, tired or on edge but also has consequences on the body that could affect our overall health.

We tell you more here.

~Tips for your health from Health Insurance Spain~

Stress on the body

When we perceive a threat or danger, our body prepares for two responses: fight or flight.

These involve the autonomic nervous system. This is divided into two: sympathetic nervous system, which prepares the body for action, and parasympathetic, which regulates the activities of our body at rest.

When faced with threatening stimuli the sympathetic system produces a hormonal response, generating more adrenaline and cortisol. The first increases the heart rate and dilates the pupils and bronchioles and we start sweating. The second hormone increases the blood sugar level and oppresses the activity of the immune system.

This is temporary, as the parasympathetic nervous system puts everything “back to normal”, but it is easy to imagine that when the entire process occurs too often or constantly, it can have harmful effects on our health.

Physical symptoms of stress

It is not easy to distinguish between an acceptable and excessive level of stress. We are used to running around, doing several things at a time and regularly facing challenges, so it is important to pay attention not only to our mood but also to some physical symptoms that warn us that the daily stress is taking its toll:

• Frequent headaches
• Diarrhoea or constipation
• Excessive tiredness or lack of energy
• Rigid jaw, tense muscles
• Insomnia or sleepiness
• Unusual changes in weight

Our brain will also send other warning signs, such as lack of motivation, low sex drive, irritability, anxiety or forgetfulness and memory loss.

Consequences of chronic stress

The risks of chronic stress include lower defences, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure, acne, eczema, depression,
anxiety or problems like muscle contractures or bruxism.

Constant stress can also make us put on weight, as it affects the regulation of our impulses and emotions.

Some studies claim that burnout, one of the most frequent types of stress, increases the risk of developing heart disease by 68% and the risk of heart attack by 23%. Stress can lead to serious health problems in the long-term, so prevention and treatment are very important.

You can consult a specialist, practice mindfulness, do moderate exercise, look for another job, do a pleasant activity at the end of the day, such as walking or reading, etc. A less stressful life is a healthier life, in every aspect.