Healthy lifestyle is the key to preventing most diseases. To achieve this, people should follow a healthy diet, exercise, and maintain minimal stress levels. Unfortunately, many people just focus on the first two things and they tend to forget about the harmful effects of stress.
Stress has become such a common occurrence that most people have just accepted it into their lives and don’t try to do anything about it. This is a big problem since chronic stress is one of the major contributors to the development of diseases, such as depression, cognitive impairments, and heart disease.
When people are constantly stressed, it can take a toll on their immune system. At first, stress will stimulate the immune system. This can be a good thing since it enhances your body’s ability to fight off diseases and infections. However, as time passes, the stress hormones will start to wear out your immune system and reduce your response to pathogens. This can result in an increased risk of the flu, common colds, and other infections. In addition to this, having a compromised immune system can also cause you to be sick for a longer period of time.
Studies have shown that stress can also affect hormone production, which can lead to hormonal imbalances. Additionally, it can disrupt the different signaling pathways that involve these chemicals. These changes can increase a person’s risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart attack, osteoporosis, cancer, neurological disorders, and infectious diseases.
The harmful effects of stress can even be observed at the DNA level. People who are often stressed exhibit shorter telomeres, which is part of the chromosome associated with aging. Although telomeres normally shorten every time a cell divide, the body has an enzyme called telomerase that helps restore some of its length. Unfortunately, the stress hormone cortisol interferes with telomerase activity. If telomeres become extremely short, they can trigger cell inflammation and death. This is why people who have short telomeres age faster. Additionally, this feature increases their risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
If you’re under a lot of stress, here are some tips on how you can feel more relaxed:
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