What Happens to the Body with Chronic Stress?
Stress is a natural response to challenging situations, and in moderation it can even be beneficial. However, when stress becomes chronic, it can have a profound impact on our overall well-being.
Functional medicine is specially equipped to deal with stress. Since stress is both mental and physical, the holistic elements of functional medicine can lead to incredible results. If you’re feeling stressed, you’ll find our long one-on-one appointments relaxing. You won’t feel rushed during consultations, and you’ll feel empowered to take control of your health.
Let’s talk about what happens to the body with chronic stress.
Normal Stress vs. Chronic Stress
Not all stress is bad. Stress has important biological functions. A classic example of stress in action has to do with a distant relative being chased by a wolf. The fight-or-flight response kicks in and helps your relative escape. But in modern society, most of our worries don’t have a cut-and-dry solution.
At work, for example, we can’t fight our bosses. We can’t always quit either. So we feel stressed. Likewise, our bodies are exposed to many toxins every day. We can’t easily escape these toxins, and so our bodies remain under a state of stress.
To summarize, normal stress is a short-term response triggered by demanding circumstances, such as a work deadline or an important presentation. The stressor eventually ends, and our bodies return to stasis.
Chronic stress, on the other hand, persists over a prolonged period and often arises from multiple sources. It can stem from emotional stress, relationship problems, unhealthy diets, exposure to environmental toxins, poor sleep patterns, and a lack of exercise. And chronic stress’s effects on the body are much deeper than those of normal stress.
Key Sources of Chronic Stress
1. Emotional Stress
Ongoing mental or emotional strain, such as persistent anxiety, grief, or financial worries.
2. Relationship Stress
Troubled relationships, conflicts, or the responsibility of caring for a loved one can contribute to chronic stress.
3. Unhealthy Diets
Poor nutrition, excessive sugar, and processed foods can impact hormonal balance and increase stress levels.
4. Environmental Toxins
Exposure to pollutants, chemicals, and allergens in our surroundings can make chronic stress responses occur in our bodies.
5. Poor Sleep
Inadequate or disrupted sleep patterns can lead to heightened stress levels and impair the body’s ability to recover.
6. Lack of Exercise
Sedentary lifestyles and a lack of physical activity can contribute to chronic stress and its detrimental effects.
Effects of Chronic Stress on the Body
So what happens to the body when it experiences chronic stress for an extended period? For one, you’ll begin to notice symptoms. But you’ll also notice that healing becomes harder and harder to achieve. Chronic stress is a double-edged sword that needs to be handled by a medical practitioner.
- Fatigue: Chronic stress can lead to persistent fatigue as the body’s resources become depleted due to constant activation of stress responses.
- Hormone Imbalance: Prolonged stress disrupts the delicate balance of hormones, potentially leading to issues such as adrenal fatigue, thyroid dysfunction, and reproductive system imbalances.
- Impaired Immune Function: Chronic stress in the body weakens the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections, illnesses, and slower healing.
- Chronic Pain: Stress can exacerbate pain conditions such as headaches, migraines, and muscle tension, while also increasing the risk of developing chronic pain conditions.
- Mood Swings and Mental Health Issues: Chronic stress can contribute to mood swings, irritability, anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders.
- Heart Health: The constant activation of stress responses can raise blood pressure, increase heart rate, and contribute to the development of cardiovascular problems over time.
Finding a Solution to Chronic Stress with Functional Medicine
It is important to remember that there are solutions for managing chronic stress in the body effectively. Functional medicine, offered by practitioners at Functional Nutrition Resources, takes a holistic approach to health. By addressing the root causes of stress, these practitioners can guide individuals in adopting healthy lifestyle changes, personalized nutrition plans, stress management techniques, and targeted supplementation to restore balance in the body.
Chronic stress can have profound effects on the body, affecting various aspects of physical and mental health. However, there is hope for individuals experiencing chronic stress. Functional Nutrition Resources provides the expertise and guidance necessary to manage stress effectively and improve overall well-being.
Rather than adding to your stress by worrying about its health effects, schedule a call with Functional Nutrition Resources. Speaking with a knowledgeable practitioner can provide the support and personalized solutions needed to reduce chronic stress and treat related health conditions at their root. Remember, you don’t have to face what happens in your body with chronic stress alone; help is available.