According to a recent study by the American Psychological Association, 70 percent of the population suffers from symptoms of stress. Anxiety manifests itself in a variety of ways, so it’s often difficult to diagnose. Here is how you can determine if you’re affected by stress so that you can tackle your symptoms before they get the best of you.
Stress-induced jaw clenching and teeth grinding can lead to pain, permanent joint damage in the jaw and gum recession. It can also wear and fracture teeth. Most people with this problem will need a mouth guard, at least temporarily.
Tension headaches are one of the most common signs of stress. When your body is under stress, muscles in the upper back and neck tense up, which can cause the scalp muscles to contract, leading to headaches. Anxiety can also trigger serious migraines. Improving your posture (especially at your desk) is one of the most significant changes you can make to relieve headaches brought on by stress. Massage and heat application can also provide relief.
Stress can cause brain fog, anger issues or even depression. That can result in difficulty making decisions, constant worrying and burnout. Try yoga or even a walk to help refocus.
Strongly linked to changes in our eating patterns (usually overeating), stress can result in weight changes. Although sudden stress can cause some people to under eat, according to researchers at Warwick Medical School, chronic stress usually results in weight gain. That’s because stress decreases our metabolism, making our bodies more likely to store fat. Having high levels of stress alters glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity, changing our eating patterns and increasing our desire for indulgent foods.
Chest Pain and High blood Pressure
Chest pain and high blood pressure can be stress-related and warrant a trip to the doctor. Stress hormones increase the pumping action of the heart and cause certain arteries to constrict, influencing blood flow and increasing overall pressure in the arteries. Stress also increases the rate at which arterial cholesterol builds up. Chest pain and blood pressure spikes should be closely monitored.
Stress can literally cause your hair to fall out. Hormonal changes force hair follicles into a resting phase, preventing new growth. Stress can also exacerbate-or, in very extreme cases, cause-alopecia, a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks follicles and causes hair to fall out. For those with a genetic propensity for hair loss, stress can trigger the process. Stress usually makes a pre-existing condition come out or worsen. Speak to your doctor or naturopath about treatments and lifestyle solutions.