Obviously, no one likes to be stressed or anxious, but when anxiety becomes chronic, its impact varies from simple concern to real risk to your health. Whether your anxiety episode is an isolated event due to high stress or you are part of the victims of a chronic anxiety disorder, your physical response to this emotion can have much more impact than you think. Here are the impacts that anxiety can have on your health, be it during a brief episode or a long battle to finish.
Anxiety can have serious consequences:
Your body’s initial reaction to anxiety could include …
Throat problems . This squeaky hoarse voice that seems to have taken control of your vocal cords is an immediate reaction to a stressful situation. When anxious feelings set in, your body redistributes its fluids to more essential places, causing spasm of the throat muscles, resulting in tightness that makes swallowing difficult.
Hepatic reactions. When the body is under stress and anxiety, the adrenal system produces a large amount of cortisol, the stress hormone. The presence of too much of this hormone causes a greater production of glucose by the liver in order to provide energy for the so-called “fight-flight” reflex. In most people, this excess glucose can be reabsorbed by the body without much concern, but for people who are predisposed to diabetes, this excess glucose could have adverse effects on their health.
Skin reactions. These cold sweats or red cheeks are an immediate sign that your body is responding to stress, and this is caused by changes in your blood flow. When we are anxious and our body goes into “fight-flight” mode, it redirects more blood to the muscles, a very useful reflex when necessary. However, if this reaction lasts too long or occurs too often, it can lead to various skin reactions, including premature aging, unusual sweating, and even increased histamines, which can lead to swelling. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, severe episodes of stress or anxiety can even trigger eczema attacks.
Active spleen Anxiety does not affect only the most obvious organs like our brain or our heart. It also affects organs that have an internal function like the spleen. In order to provide more oxygen to the body, the spleen secretes a larger amount of red and white blood cells. In this reaction process, your blood flow increases from 300 to 400% in response to the “fight-flight” reflex.
Tense muscles. When anxiety seizes you, the body tenses in a natural way, which can tax the most important muscle groups. Stress or chronic anxiety can exacerbate this tension, resulting in headaches, stiff shoulders, neck pain and sometimes even migraines. People who are constantly stressed are more likely to suffer from chronic musculoskeletal disorders.
Anxiety can have serious consequences: after a while, chronic anxiety can have an impact on …
Your heart. People with chronic stress or anxiety are at higher risk for cardiovascular problems because of their consistently high heart rate, high blood pressure, and overexposure to cortisol. According to the American Psychological Association, prolonged exposure to stress can also cause hypertension, arrhythmias and a higher risk of heart attack or stroke.
Your lungs. Studies have shown that there is a link between anxiety disorders and asthma. Indeed, asthmatics are more susceptible to panic attacks. According to another study conducted at the University of São Paulo, there is also a link between anxiety, asthma and balance.
Your brain The strongest response to anxiety is our psychological reaction. Stress and chronic anxiety affect areas of our brain that are responsible for our short-term and long-term memory, as well as being involved in certain chemical reactions in our body, which can lead to some hormonal imbalances. In addition, chronic stress constantly stimulates the nervous system, which, in turn, can impact other systems of our body by triggering unnecessary physical responses, which causes fatigue, among others. People with anxiety often find it difficult to fall asleep, mainly because they are constantly worrying about it. According to data from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 54% of people say that stress and anxiety have an impact on the ability to get to sleep, and of that number, 50% of men and 40% of women say that this has an impact on their level of concentration the next day.
Your immune system Exposure to stress can have a detrimental effect on your immune system, which is weakened or even suppressed by the presence of the “fight-flight” reflex. Studies have also shown that when you’re stressed, you’re more likely to catch a cold and more vulnerable to infections and inflammation.
Your stomach. When your body reacts to stress, it does not regulate the digestive functions properly. Chronic or acute stress can also have long-term effects on your intestines and the nutrients they absorb, which can cause gastric reflux, bloating, diarrhea, and sometimes even complete loss of bowel control. Long-term stress or anxiety can also affect your metabolism, which can cause you to be overweight or even obese. One study has shown that the constant secretion of cortisol can cause loss of insulin sensitivity, while another study has established an adult link between anxiety and the presence of diagnosed ulcers. by a doctor.