According to a new survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), many health problems are related to stress. Stress aggravates the risk of certain health conditions such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, depression, asthma, and gastrointestinal problems.
75% of Americans report experiencing at least one symptom of stress in the past month. Since 2007, money and work remain the leading causes of stress (67 percent and 65 percent in 2015, respectively) for three-quarters of Americans, a dramatic and steady increase over the 59% reporting the same sources of stress back in 2006. 24% of adults are more likely than in past years to report experiencing extreme stress compared with eighteen percent in 2014. This is the highest reporting since 2010.
“Stress in America™ continues to escalate and is affecting every aspect of people's lives; from work to relationships to eating habits and sleep patterns, as well as health,” psychologist Russ Newman, Ph.D., JD, APA says. “We know that stress is a reality of life, and some stress can have a positive impact, however, the high-stress levels that many Americans report experiencing can have long-term health consequences, ranging from fatigue to obesity and heart disease.”
Stress Affecting Health
Sixty-three percent of Americans claim they're managing their stress very well. Despite this, twenty-one percent of Americans (about 67 million) admit that they are not doing enough to manage their stress. Even those that say they do enough to manage their stress still experience physical stress symptoms. However, 77% of American recently report experiencing physical symptoms and 73% reported psychological symptoms related to stress. Physical symptoms of stress include: sleeping habits (33%); fatigue (32%); and headache (32%). Psychological symptoms of stress include irritability or anger (37%); overeating or eating unhealthy foods (39%); nervous or anxious (42%); lack of energy (32%); inability to concentrate (27%); skipping a meal (31%); constant worrying (33%); and feeling depressed or sad (37%). Also, almost half (46%) of Americans report stress-induced insomnia.
Some of the significant health problems:
Heart disease“Research has shown that the stressed-out, type A personality has a higher risk of high blood pressure and heart problems. Stress can directly raise the heart rate and blood flow, and cause the release of cholesterol and triglycerides into the bloodstream. Also, sudden emotional stress can be a trigger for serious cardiac problems, including heart attacks.”
AsthmaStudies have revealed that stress can worsen asthma. Some evidence suggests that a parent's chronic stress might even increase the risk of developing asthma in their children. Kids with stressed out parents have a considerably higher risk of developing asthma.
ObesityStress causes higher levels of the hormone cortisol which tends to increase the amount of fat that is deposited in the abdomen.
DiabetesStress can worsen diabetes by raising the glucose levels of people with type 2 diabetes directly.
HeadachesStress is the commonest trigger for tension headaches as well as migraine.
Anxiety and DepressionIt's no surprise that chronic stress is related to higher rates of anxiety and depression. People who have stressful jobs have an 80% greater risk of becoming depressed within a few years compared to people with lower stress.
Gastrointestinal diseasesStress doesn't cause ulcers but can worsen it. Stress is also a cause of many other GI problems like heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Alzheimer's diseaseOne animal study has proven that stress might worsen Alzheimer's disease, causing its brain lesions to form faster. Some researchers think that reducing stress actually has the potential to slow down the progression of the Alzheimer's disease.
Accelerated agingThere is evidence that stress can affect how you age. Researchers found that a particular region of the chromosomes showed the effects of accelerated aging and that stress expedites aging about 9 to 17 additional years.
View Article’s Sources:
- Stress in America™; paying with our health
- Stress and Heart Health
- The International Association for the Study of Obesity, Obesity Reviews
- How Stress Affects Diabetes
- Tension Headache
- Stress and the Digestive System
- University of Florida Health researchers find some evidence of link between stress, Alzheimer’s disease
- Stress and aging
- The Structure of Negative Emotional States: Comparison of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS) with the Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventories Stress and Depression Journal
- Stress and Anxiety
- 2015 Stress in America™
- Stress management: Know your triggers
- WebMD: Stress Management Health Center
- Stress and Exercise
- Stress and Eating
- Stress and Sleep
Stress in America™ is a trademark of the American Psychological Association.