HEALTH: Can Stress Make You Ill? Yes!

A recent study by the American Psychological Association found that more than a third of people believed that stress had impacted their physical or mental well-being in some way. Thanks to our modern society and the pressures of life, stress is one of the leading causes of disease and illness and can lead to debilitating symptoms. Here are some signs that stress is making you ill.

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You Break Out In Hives
Most people associate random red bumps on their skin as an allergy to something in their environment. But people have been known to break out in hives when they start feeling stress. Researchers believe this happens as a result of stress causing the body’s immune system to go haywire. Under stress, the body starts churning out excess histamines to fight off infections. However, there are no diseases to fight, and instead, you end up with hives breaking out all over your body. It’s not healthy.

Your Weight Starts Yo-Yoing

Yo-yo weight loss is something that many women have gotten used to, especially by the time we reach our thirties. But the reason for yo-yoing up and down all the time might have less to do with motivation and more to do with stress. According to Shana Levine, a medical doctor from the world-famous Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, stress releases a hormone called cortisol that blocks the burning of sugar for energy. Instead, the sugar is shuttled off to be stored in fat cells, causing weight gain. She also points out that stress has repeatedly been shown to provoke people to behave in ways around food that they wouldn’t normally. Stressed people, she says, are far more likely to order takeaway pizza or eat a bucket of ice cream in one sitting to help them manage their stress levels.

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You Feel Anxious All The Time

Anxiety is becoming an epidemic in our society, especially among women. Despite all the mental health information available today, the problem seems to be getting worse. Feeling anxious is usually the result of leading a lifestyle that is too stressful. Perhaps you’re working extra hours in the office. Maybe you’ve taken on more responsibility than you can handle. Whatever it is, it can lead to emotional problems.

If you can, take some time off. Do the hard things first - like telling your boss you’ve taken on too much all in one go - and then try to move on with your life. When you feel less stressed, you’ll feel less anxious, and you’ll be able to take on more at work again.

You’ve Got A Bad Tummy

Bloating, gurgling, burping: all of it could be a sign that you’re stressed and that you’ve taken on too much. According to Deborah Rhodes, a doctor from the Mayo Clinic, stress disrupts the function of the gastrointestinal tract, causing people to get gas, bloating and diarrhea. Her advice is not to worry, so long as symptoms pass.

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