How stress can affect your body

by IANS |

New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) Stress may not only affect you mentally but is also detrimental to your physical health, said doctors here on Tuesday.

April is known to be the stress awareness month.

In today's fast-paced world, people of all ages are facing unprecedented levels of pressure and stress, leading to a surge in mental and physical health challenges.

"In addition to impacting mental well-being, stress can have profound effects on the body, contributing to various health conditions and diseases," Vipul Gupta, Director of Neurointervention and Co-Chief of the Stroke Unit at Artemis Hospital, Gurugram, told IANS.

The doctor noted that stress can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, which can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, heart disease and stroke.

"Chronic stress triggers a cascade of physiological responses, including elevated levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which can disrupt normal bodily functions.

"Digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastritis are also linked to stress, as it can disrupt gut motility and exacerbate inflammation. Furthermore, prolonged stress may contribute to hormonal imbalances, leading to reproductive issues in both men and women, the doctor said.

A December 2023 study by ICICI Lombard General Insurance unveiled that every third person in India is grappling with stress. The report said that 77 per cent of Indians experience at least one symptom of stress regularly.

Coping mechanisms such as mindfulness practices, healthy lifestyle habits, regular exercise, maintaining social connections, etc, play crucial roles in managing stress.

Divya Mohindroo, a Counselling Psychologist suggested exploring mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing to manage stress.

She also emphasised the therapeutic value of journaling and harnessing the power of nature.

"Explore the benefits of spending time outdoors for stress management. This highlights a natural approach to stress reduction that connects with the concept of awareness," she told IANS.

The experts also stressed the importance of seeking help when needed.

"Recognising when stress becomes overwhelming and seeking professional help is paramount. Visiting a doctor or mental health professional is necessary when symptoms persist, interfere with daily functioning, or lead to physical ailments. Stress awareness month serves as a timely reminder to prioritise mental well-being and seek support when needed," Vipul said.

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