Quite often when i ask patients if they are stressed, they equate stress to mostly emotional stress. Stress can be caused by mental, emotional, physiological, environmental, dietary, hormonal physical stressors. Stress is anything that puts the body out of its normal state of being creating various symptoms that the body was not experiencing before. Anxiety and panic attacks are quite often linked to having too much stress (mental and emotional), and the inability to manage it quite often creating a sudden feeling of breathlessness and sudden sweating. When you are stressed, your body produces more of the so-called 'fight or flight' chemicals, which prepare your body for an emergency.
Adrenaline and nor adrenaline raise your blood pressure, increase the rate at which your heart beats and increase the rate at which you perspire. They can also reduce blood flow to your skin and reduce your stomach activity.
Cortisol releases fat and sugar into your system (but also reduces the efficiency of your immune system).
Please remember that there is a mind – body connection, and hence the symptoms described below maybe psychosomatic symptoms where the underlying root cause of the problem could be acute or chronic stress. Also a lot of digestive symptoms described here could be caused by stress – our gut is like our second brain so it’s not so surprising to see that the first thing that happens to a lot of individuals under stressful situations is having diarrhea or constipation.
On going chronic stress can lead to or exacerbate conditions such as anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome or colitis. I have seen this in quite a few patients at the clinic. Always remember however, it is every important to identify the root cause of the symptom in order to treat it correctly.
PHYSICAL SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Physical symptoms can be caused by other illnesses, so it is important to have a medical doctor treat conditions such as ulcers, compressed disks, or other physical disorders. The physical problems outlined below may result from or be exacerbated by stress:
- Anxiety, panic attacks and sleep disturbances
- Back, shoulder or neck pain
- Difficulty to breathe
- Feeling sudden claustrophia - as if the world is closing in on you
- Unable to concentrate and focus
- Mental agitation all the time but especially when you are trying to sleep,keeping you awake for hours
- Tension or migraine headaches
- Upset or acid stomach, cramps, heartburn, gas, irritable bowel syndrome
- Constipation, diarrhea and symptoms of irritable bowel
- Weight gain or loss, eating disorders
- Sudden hair loss
- Muscle tension / spasms and tightness
- Constant fatigue
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat, palpitations
- Dyspnoea or shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Sweaty palms or hands
- Cold hands or feet
- Skin problems (hives, eczema, psoriasis, tics, itching)
- Periodontal disease, jaw pain
- Reproductive problems
- Immune system suppression
- Increased frequency of colds, flu, infections
- Growth retardation