In this article we will talk about the 10 side effects of the silent killer known as stress.
Most coaches spend hours upon hours talking about exercises that make your belly smaller and your muscles bigger and stronger. They preach about the merits of keto diets or vegan nutrition while complaining about mosanto and GMO products.
Yet all of these people tend to forget the most important factor that can truly make a difference in any program, regardless if its target is fat loss, muscle gain or simply healthy living. No matter what you do, if you don’t manage your stress levels, you will always be going 2 steps forward and 3 steps back…
Table of Contents
- 1 Stress: the true enemy!
- 1.1 High cortisol levels in the blood
- 1.2 Sleep deprivation, insomnia and lack of sleep
- 1.3 Increased risk for coronary heart disease
- 1.4 Mental deterioration
- 1.5 Compromised Breathing
- 1.6 Weakened muscular system
- 1.7 Effect on Cholesterol
- 1.8 Problematic Digestion
- 1.9 Reproductive problems
- 1.10 Loss of sexual desire
Stress: the true enemy!
Stress is truly an epidemic in our times of technological and medical advances. An age where everything is automated for the benefit of mankind, food sources are plenty and medical progress has found the cure for even the deadliest of diseases.
Still, modern medicine has failed to protect us against this silent killer. 75 to 90% of all doctor visits are stress-related. Surely one might think that countless medications to combat or limit stress are available such as sleep aids, sedatives and anxiolytic pills but all of them have proven to come with side effects that create bigger problems while failing to cure the original one.
We are not going to focus on why people stress in this article or how to manage stress yet. First, let us take a look at 10 side effects of high stress levels on our body, mind and thus our entire wellness.
High stress levels lead to:
High cortisol levels in the blood
Cortisol is a stress hormone that is activated under periods of extreme stress. Stress can be variety of things from being screamed at by your boss to trying to run away from someone.
All in all, stress triggers our fight or flight response. This is an ancient survival mechanism of the body to help it cope with stress and allow for its survival. As a result, cortisol is secreted and that dissolves muscle tissue and encourages fat storage in the body. Remember that high levels of body fat is also a leading risk for coronary heart disease.
Sleep deprivation, insomnia and lack of sleep
I have spoken about the importance of sleep in a previous article. Sleep is responsible and very important for our physical and mental recovery. Sleep and rest in general, are both required for lowering stress levels and therefore cortisol levels in the body. But perhaps its most important function is regulating proper hormone production, muscle tissue repair and brain regeneration.
Increased risk for coronary heart disease
While people try to blame coronary heart disease to bad genetics and bad eating habits, we cannot deny that stress is often its leading cause. This holds very true, especially, for people who live a sedentary lifestyle and fail to exercise their cardiovascular system.
Failure to manage stress successfully can often lead to emotional disorders, some of which are very hard to treat. Obsessions, addictions, bad eating habits are only a few of these. This is because the high levels of cortisol in the body create an imbalance among all the other hormones. Most mental and emotional disorders are a result of low dopamine and serotonin levels.
Fear takes over
Stress also optimizes fear in our body. Fear, in turn, activates our sympathetic nervous system which is originally intended for times of survival, such as, running away from a predator.
This is called the fight or flight response and that triggers the release of adrenaline and cortisol in the blood which, in turn, causes the heart to beat faster, increases respiration and makes other functions of the body such as digestion to shut down. Chronic stress can drain the whole body by overworking the above mechanism.
As a result of high stress levels, your breathing will become more difficult. Breathing is linked to our physical existence. If we stop breathing, our heart stops beating and we die. It’s that simple.
By not breathing properly, our blood does not get enough oxygen, therefore our organs such as the heart, lungs and hearts do not operate at their maximal capacity and that can lead to a variety of health conditions.
Weakened muscular system
As a result of high stress levels, our muscular system becomes weaker, including that of the inner organs. Muscles are an important component of our bodies. Weak muscles will lead to muscular imbalances which, in turn, can lead to joint and ligament problems. All this will cause mobility problems. People might think that stress cannot put them in a wheelchair but then again, they don’t call stress the silent killer for nothing.
Effect on Cholesterol
Stress can raise your cholesterol levels by raising your HDL (bad cholesterol) and lowering your LDL (good cholesterol). Cholesterol is another hormone in your body that is responsible for your overall health.
As a result of the bad blood circulation and muscular weakness, our inner organs fail to operate on an optimal level which will lead to problematic digestion at some point in our lives.
Ulcers, stomach aches and even hemorrhoid problems emerge only to be added to the wide variety of problems we already mentioned.
As a result of high stress levels, some people experience problems in their reproductive system. Premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction disorders are very common in men with high stress levels while it can lead to irregular menstrual cycles and painful periods in women.
Loss of sexual desire
While this problem could be listed with the reproductive ones, it tends to have a different nature. Loss of sexual desire is very common in both sexes at times of high stress. When your body is taught to live with stress, optimizing basic survival becomes your body’s primary task while the need for procreation takes the backseat.
With all these side-effects in mind, proper nutrition, exercise, rest and stress management techniques become an absolute necessity for everyone living in our fast-paced and stress-producing modern world.
Have you ever experienced any of these side effects? How did you deal with them? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I did writing it. Putting together this article took a bit of time but it will only take you a second to click on the Share buttons below and show your support to this blog.
Also if you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks!
by Nick Sigma
CWC, EH, E-YRT200