What Are The Physical Illnesses Related To Stress ?


Stress is the body's reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The effects of stress can be positive, keeping us alert and ready to avoid danger. On the other hand, stress can also becomes negative. This occurs when a person faces continuous challenges without relief or relaxation between challenges and physical illnesses related to stress develop as a result.

Stress affect your overall health in many ways; the signs, physical symptoms or emotional symptoms of stress vary from person to person, but all have the potential to harm your health and emotional well-being.

Some commonly seen physical illnesses related to stress that a person undergoing stress might experience include:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
    There are many underlying causes of IBS but stress undoubtedly plays an important part in it. A research done shows that none of the patients with IBS improves when treated in the continuing presence of stress but patients removed from the same stress factor were found to improved by more than 50% in their symptoms.
  • Heart attack and High Blood Pressure
    With constant exposure to stress, rising blood pressure has been reported. High blood pressure puts undue stress on the blood vessel walls, which may burst, and cause a stroke.  It also over pressures the circulatory system and puts an unhealthy strain on the heart, which in turn greatly contributes to the occurrence of heart attacks. By reducing stress and lowering blood pressure you can greatly lower the risk of stroke and heart attack
  • Ulcers
    Though ulcers may not be directly caused by stress, it is a stress related illness. Under stress, excessive stomach acids may be excreted that can destroy the lining of the stomach. Stress also tenses and contracts the muscles of the stomach as it does the rest of the body and prevents proper digestion of food.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
    Rheumatoid arthritis is an illness that results from a disorder in the body’s immune system. Stress is known to affect the immune system and as such, it is believed that stress may aggravate and add to the severity of the arthritis.
  • Insomnia and Chronic fatigue
    The release of stress hormone under influence of stress will stimulate the brain preparing it to response to the external stressor. Under constant or prolonged stress, the elevated level of stress hormones tend to keep the brain in an alert state and this causes the person to have difficulty going to sleep. When this continues, without proper sleep for a prolonged period, the person will be exhausted leading ultimately to chronic fatigue, which is a commonly seen physical symptoms of stress
  • Obesity
    People who are under stress tend to indulge in comfort eating. This may serve to relieve them of some stress making them able to enjoy and relax for a while. However, constant and excessive intake of food results in weight gain that in severe cases leads to obesity. This in turn may further causes the development of more physical illnesses related to stress like heart problem, diabetes, arthritis and so on.
  • Cancer
    Though not scientifically proven to have a direct link to stress, it is believed that stress is a major factor that causes many different types of cancer. The reason being that stress weakens the immune system, which makes our body more susceptible to the “invasion” by cancer cells.
  • Muscle aches
    Tightness in your muscles occurs during periods of stress. This occurs to enable you to move and be coordinated. However, an extended period of stress can result in sore muscles

Keep in mind that the physical illnesses related to stress listed above can be caused by other psychological or physical problems, so it’s important that you consult and seek the advise of a doctor. Read more on  “How Does Stress Affect Health”.