How dealing with stress can save your life

How dealing with stress can save your life

A stagnant economy isn’t the only thing stressing out Americans. Whether it is an all-consuming job, hectic home life or other persistent demands on your time, many people are forced to become masters of multitasking just to keep up.

With April being National Stress Awareness Month, it brings the issue to the forefront and underscores why it’s important to understand how chronic stress affects the body. Many people deal with it in different ways with some experiencing sleepless nights, depression or irritability. Others see their immune system weaken, making them vulnerable to the common cold and the flu.

Studies have shown that consistent stress may lead to more serious health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, ulcers and heart disease. The most recent statistics show that more than 15 million people suffered from ulcers alone in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Stress affects every part of your body,” says Dr. Virendra Singh Bisla, a cardiologist at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago. “There are hormones that affect your brain when you are stressed out. Not being able to relax, affects the heart which could lead to heart attacks. It affects your blood pressure where that could go up and of course it can affect your sleep.

In order to take the edge off stress, some people may turn to alcohol which sometimes leads to over-consumption.

There are nearly 88,000 deaths connected to excessive alcohol use each year in the United States, according to the CDC. It is the third leading life-style related cause of death. Others turn to smoking – which can lead to lung cancer which is the leading cancer killer among men and women according to the American Lung Association.

Doctors recommend a few ways to deal with stress when it’s slowly boiling over. They suggest exercising regularly, especially when you recognize how your body responds to stress.

Dr. Bisla says mediation and prayer have greatly helped his patients.

“I have seen thousands of patients who have been under a great deal of stress,” he says. “My patients have told me it has been very helpful for them when they find time to pray and take a moment to just stop their busy lives.”

Medical officials also said people need to make sure to prioritize the important aspects of life and not to treat everything like a number one concern. And while it may be harder than it seems, especially for those who suffer from high stress, medical experts have one simple message; don’t dwell on something for too long.

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Comments

3 Comments

  1. I like to listen to music or go for a walk to help relax. I’m curious to see what others do to help unwind…..

  2. I do the exact same thing, walk and listen to music for a couple of hours.

  3. Prayer definitely works to relieve stress because when you express what you are feeling to the one who can change any situation it makes and incredible difference.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.