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Weird Side-effects of Stress

Stressful circumstances can have serious physical and emotional consequences. Take a look at some strange ways your body can react to stress.

Mental Health By Himanshu Sharma / Dec 23, 2014

Strange Ways your Body Reacts to Stress

Stress is a part and parcel of life; it can affect anyone. Stressful circumstances can have serious physical and emotional consequences. Sometimes, our body can react to stress in a weird way. The consequences of the hormone cortisol messing with our body can wreak havoc. You may experience surprising things such as tightening of muscles, sudden depletion of energy levels, spike in blood pressure and many more. Here are some of the strangest side-effects of stress.

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Memory Problems

Stress stunts mental performance! A study conducted at the University of Iowa found an association between high levels of stress with changes in the short-term memory center of the brain. The researchers suggested that stressful conditions can ‘fog up’ one’s memory and as a result remembering and recalling becomes difficult. If the stress you're experiencing is ongoing, there can be devastating effects such as memory troubles.

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Weight Changes

Stress can make sudden and drastic weight changes. According to a study published in the journal Obesity, which observed 5,000 people over five years for psychosocial stress (accounting life events as well as perceived stress), found connection between stress and weight changes. Moreover, people under stress tend to reach for sugary, fatty and salty foods. Consumption of these foods when your cortisol levels are already high lowers your metabolism and you are more likely to accumulate fat.

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Hair Loss

Stress can make you lose your hair. Telogen effluvium is a condition caused by stress. In this medical condition, the hairs’ growth phase is prematurely shifted into its resting phase. The result can be thinning of the hair or sudden hair loss. The triggers of telogen effluvium are psychological and/or physical stressors such as depression, anxiety, lack of sleep and chronic illness. The permanent damage to hair because of the condition is rare and hair growth improves once the stress resolves.

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Stress can leave you tossing and turning all night. Loss of sleep links to a number of health issues, including stress. The condition causes hyperarousal, which can upset the balance between sleep and wakefulness. The vicious cycle of sleeplessness goes on and worsens stress. Prolonged sleeplessness puts you at a greater risk of heart disease and obesity. To sleep better and de-stress at the same time, exercising 30 minutes works quite well.

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Back Pain

Chronic stress response can lead to pain as your blood pressure and heart rate may go for a toss when you're stressed. Moreover, hunching over at your desk worrying about things can cause muscle aches. Don’t get stuck to your seat but try to get in a 10 to 15 minute walk around the office at least twice a day. Stand up every hour and do some stretches.

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Loss of Libido

Stress can affect sexual performance. Stressful circumstances can make you feel not interested in sexual activity altogether. Feeling stressed about intimacy is another thing. Moreover, prolonged stress can cause chemical and hormonal changes which worsen sexual problems and there can be serious issues such as erectile dysfunction and loss of libido. To cope with stress-induced performance anxiety, take help of a sex therapist or mental health professional.

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Weakened Immunity

Weakened immune system is a noticeable side-effect of stress on your body. The reason for it is a prolonged release of catecholemines, hormones that help regulate your immune system. Another reason for stress affecting immunity is stress shrinking your thymus gland, the gland that produces your infection-fighting white blood cells. This can damage telomeres, which are genes that help those immune cells reproduce. According to an Ohio State University study, an uptick in your allergy symptoms could be related to stress. To prevent immune system from stress’ effect is by exercising 30 minutes a day.

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Nosebleeds is one of the most frightening things, but rarely a sign of a serious medical problem. Some nosebleeds are stress-triggered. According to a study in the British Medical Journal, nosebleeds could occur when stressed because of the spikes in blood pressure. When you are feeling stressed, make sure you keep a watch on your blood pressure levels. Drinking hibiscus tea could be enough to lower your stress levels and preventing nosebleeds.

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