Long Term Chronic Stress and Anxiety — The Bodily Impact
When an individual suffers from long term chronic stress and anxiety there are significant negative impacts that can occur for the body as a result of hormones building up. Increased heart rate, overexposure to cortisol, and high rates of blood pressure often lead to cardiovascular complications later in life. These complications can include arrhythmia, hypertension, and a greater potential for heart attack and stroke. In terms of the lungs, studies have found a relationship between chronic anxiety and asthma, this would make sense as the throat muscles constrict airflow into the lungs when stress hormones are released. Often the immune system is also negatively impacted as high levels of cortisol actually block the production of white blood cells in the body. As a result the body becomes more susceptible to disease, and silent inflammation.
Finally, the brain and the digestive system. Within the brain chronic stress negatively impacts long term memory in the hippocampus, and can also cause chemical imbalances leading to depression and severe anxiety. Additionally, folks who struggle with chronic anxiety often experience poor sleep because of worrisome thought patterns, and hyper awareness from the adrenaline and cortisol in the body. Chronic lack of sleep leads to long term health concerns such as obesity and depression, poor brain function, and a diminished capacity to retain information. Finally, in the gut, a stress reaction will cause blood flow to migrate to the extremities in order to protect against danger. naturally this negatively impacts the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and digest properly. This can cause bloating, reflux, malnourishment, and diarrhea. Scientists have barely scratched the surface when it comes to discovering all the ways in which chronic anxiety impacts the body, thus finding ways to retain a consistent sense of calm under pressure is very important this day in age.