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Sharp Health News

The physical toll of stress (infographic)

March 28, 2018

Experiencing stress is both common and normal. In fact, according to Dr. Kathlyn Ignacio, an internal medicine specialist with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, you actually need it to respond to the world around you. But too much stress, or a failure to manage it, is never a good thing. Learn how stress can negatively affect your body, and tips to keep it at bay.

The physical toll of stress. 80 percent of American adults report that they feel stressed. While we often focus on the emotional side of stress, the greater danger is what it does to us physically. How stress works. During stressful times, hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine rise - revving up your system to respond. Your body on stress. From head to toe, these are some of the ways stress can immediately affect your body: Headaches. Acne or hives. Rapid or labored breathing. Muscle and joint aches. Neck, shoulder and back tension. Chest pain. Heart rate changes. Nausea and stomach pain. Long-term troubles. While stress can shake you up when it happens, it can also have these last effects: Trouble Sleeping. Lack of energy. Hair loss. Digestion problems. Reduced bone density. Increased risk of chronic health issues. Weight gain or loss. Impaired immune response. 4 steps to de-stress. Don't let stress get the better of you. Follow these simple steps to keep it at bay: 1. Eat well. Eat a balanced diet of mostly plant-based foods. 2. Sleep. Get 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep per night. 3. Exercise. Do some sort of physical activity every day. 4. Meditate. Practice mindfulness to regulate emotions. From the expert. Too much stress can impact multiple systems and even lead to an early demise. Find ways to combat stress to benefit both your mind and body. - Dr. Kathlyn Ignacio, internal medicine doctor with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group.

View the printable version of this infographic.

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