How to Spot the Physical Signs of Stress in Your Family

Stress Not Quite As Damaging As First Thought!Stress seems to be an inescapable part of modern life, and even family wellness isn’t immune to it. Stress can cause emotional wellness problems, such as general feelings of unease, anxiety and even depression, but how does it affect your loved ones’ physical wellbeing? Are there physical signs that your family is stressed?


When your doctor says that your chronic headache is caused by stress, you may think it’s just a cop-out but there are actually plenty of reasons why chronic headaches may be stress-related. When you’re stressed, you often subconsciously clench your jaw or grind your teeth, and this puts pressure on your jaw and inflames the muscles in your head over time. However, only chronic headaches are a sign of stress, not acute ones.


Heart disease is another physical ailment that can result from stress. When you’re stressed, your body releases several hormones, such as adrenaline, to enact your “fight or flight” response. Because of this, your heart works hard to provide additional oxygen-rich blood to various parts of the body, and you may also breathe faster and sweat more than usual. All of these factors can increase your risk of developing heart disease.


One of the most notable physical symptoms of stress is chronic muscle pain, which is why prescription medications introduced to the public in recent years have been designed to treat stress and depression as well as physical pain. Because your body releases adrenalin when stressed, this hormone enters your bloodstream, and your muscles contract in response. Therefore, muscle fatigue and pain is a commonly reported symptom by those who experience abnormal levels or long periods of stress.


You may not be surprised to hear that if your family is stressed, you may notice that they gain some weight or lose it. Stress can cause some individuals experience nausea, dry heaving and even vomiting, which often causes them to lose their appetite and, in turn, lose weight quickly and become malnourished. However, stress can also lead people to comfort eating, meaning that they bulk up on high-calorie, low-nutrition foods, causing abnormal weight gain that may lead to other health issues.


Finally, if you have trouble sleeping, stress can be the culprit behind it. Insomnia or hypersomnia (in which individuals sleep more often to escape from life’s stressors) can occur because stress affects the way that the chemicals your body produces in order to cause sleepiness – such as melatonin – work the way they should. Other notable stress-related physical symptoms include tremors, decreased immune response, slowed reflexes and even chronic high blood pressure, so consult your family doctor if any of these symptoms occur.

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