8 Stress-Related Health Problems: Know The Signs

African American woman stressedToday, everyone seems to have an increased amount of stress, whether it is due to the economy, their job, layoff or family relationships and other constraints. Many medical and physical complaints that we have can in some way or another be due to or can be worsened by stress. Here are eight of the most common stress-induced conditions and the evidence behind them.

1. Depression and anxiety/panic disorders. This is pretty easy to understand. The more stress a person has, the worse underlying mental health disorders can become. The stress of loss of a loved one, loss of a job or threat of losing your job, or a strained relationship can lead to overwhelming sadness or symptoms of panic. Insomnia and sleep disturbances can occur as racing thoughts and increased worry at night. Alcohol and tobacco abuse can also occur concurrently as ways to self-medicate in the absence of correct ways of treatment such as prayer, counseling, therapy or prescribed medication.

2. Hypertension and heart disease. Otherwise known as high blood pressure, stress can cause an increase in constriction of blood vessels. Stress has not been proven as a direct cause of high blood pressure, but it can have an overall effect on the release of hormones from the nervous system and circulatory systems, which makes it harder for the heart to pump blood to our vital organs. If blood pressure is chronically high and blood vessels have enough damage or cholesterol buildup, heart disease can be the result. Some chest pain can even be linked to stress.

READ: When Unemployment Stresses You All The Way Out

3. GERD (acid reflux) and stomach ulcers. Emotional stress can lead to an increased production of acid from proton pumps and H2 receptors in our stomachs. If acidity is prominent, a burning sensation can be felt and pain can extend from the stomach (in the center and to the left of the middle of the stomach) all the way up to the esophagus and throat. Foods that we eat, including caffeinated beverages, spicy ingredients and citrus can make this worse. If left for too long, ulcers, or an eating away of the lining of the stomach, can develop and even worsen to the point of bleeding.

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