We all experience stress from time to time. Whether it's figuring out how to balance your own life with the duties of caring for a loved one, worrying about your health, or feeling anxiety about money troubles--an extended amount of stress can really effect the outcome of your health in the longrun. In fact, negative stress on the body can result in chronic health issues if left action is not taken.
How Does Stress Affect Your Health?
Stress is a normal reaction to the experiences we have every day. Positive stress keeps us alert and gives us the ability to avoid danger. Negative stress, however, emerges when we do not relive ourselves of stressful situations. Often times this leads to a state of distress which can lead to physical symptoms that can cause serious health issues such as anxiety, heart problems, arthritis, anxiety and various other chronic health issues. If you find yourself experiencing elevated blood pressure, headaches, upset stomach, or problems sleeping, you may be in a state of distress.
Study Says Stressed Women Are More Prone to Alzheimer’s
A damsel in distress may have been a good story line for fairy tales, but in reality it could lead to a number of health issues, especially Alzheimer’s. A recent study from the researchers at The Health Site states that stress prone and anxious women are more likely to develop brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
The study consisted of a nearly 40 year experimental following of 800 women around the age of 46. The researchers looked at the following traits to determine tendencies and stress factors:
- If the women were prone to jealousy
- Were the women very worrisome
- How outgoing the participants were
- Were they withdrawn
- How easily they became distressed
- Showing signs of neuroticism
The participants were asked to take tests pertaining to their personalities and asked to document when they experienced prolonged stressful situations that lasted longer than a month. What they concluded was ground breaking. Over the course of the study, they concluded that about 19% of the female participants developed dementia. The women who were notably neurotic (very anxious, fearful, nervous) were twice more likely to develop brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia than the other participants. The females who were more withdrawn actually developed Alzheimer’s twice as much as less distressed females. Researchers are still searing for the cause of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, but the cause still remains unknown. They do however believe that factors such as lifestyle, environment, and genetics can have a large impact on these diseases.
The Stroke and Stress Study
As the effects of stress weigh on your mind and body for prolonged periods of time, our state of health can begin to decline. New research concluded by MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) proves that higher levels of stress, depression, and hostility can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
How did the researchers reach this conclusion you ask? The study consisted of 6,700 adults of different ethnicities and origins between the ages of 45 and 86. The researchers required their heart healthy participants to answer a questionnaire that assessed their stress levels, anger issues, depression and other symptoms over the course of 2 years. After the two year period it was concluded that 86% of those who answered to being more depressed were more likely to have a stroke. 59% of participants who tested positive for higher stress levels were more likely to have a stroke as well as those who scored high on hostility. Despite popular belief, there was no direct correlation to a stroke risk increase due to anger.
We all know that diet is a key component to heart health, but psychological issues are just as important to diet when it comes to strokes. Researchers recommend that given our fast paced lifestyles and stress levels, it is important to lower your stress levels and focus on not just a healthy diet, but a healthy mind as well.
In order to protect yourself and your health, it's important to take the time every day to relax. Whether that comes in the form of exercise, meditation, or simply setting aside some quiet "me" time, it's essential to your health to slow down and relax.