Doctors warn chronic stress impacts physical, mental health

Chronic stress can be tough on the body

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The body’s fight or flight response is nature’s way of helping cope with stressful situations. Faced with stress, the body will secrete adrenaline to amp up breathing, heart rate and blood pressure all things that can help in a dangerous situation.

But when stress is chronic, the body remains in high gear for an unhealthy amount of time.

"Stress is very dangerous, and in fact, it can kill," Dr. William Schmidt interventional and nuclear cardiologist with Norton Heart & Vascular Institute said. "There are certain receptors on the heart muscle and the heart arteries that are very sensitive to adrenaline, and it can overstimulate the arteries, causing a heart attack."

The American Red Cross has identified some red flags that someone’s stress level might be nearing the danger zone.

  • -Digestive issues and body aches: Stress can cause upset stomach and headaches, and lead to tightened muscles that contribute to body aches.
  • -Low energy level: Stress can disrupt sleep, leaving you feeling tired during the day.
  • -Emotional triggers: Stress can cause a mix of depression, anger, helplessness, anxiety and tension, which in turn can increase your stress levels, creating a self-perpetuating cycle.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your physician.

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