Dr Natalie Choong, Primary Care Doctor

1 April, 2024

Stress: How It Triggers Health Troubles and Leads to Many Diseases


Life’s a rollercoaster, and stress seems to be the bumpiest part of the ride for many of us. Whether it’s work pressure, family stuff, or just the daily chaos, stress is like an uninvited guest that won’t leave. What most people don’t realize is that stress isn’t just an annoyance – it’s a major player in making us sick. This article breaks down why stress messes with our health and sets the stage for various illnesses.


Understanding Stress

Okay, so stress is our body’s way of dealing with tough situations. When we feel threatened, our body releases stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, gearing us up to either fight or run like there’s no tomorrow. In short bursts, stress can be a good kick in the pants, keeping us sharp. But when it hangs around like an unwanted houseguest, that’s when things get messy.


The Body on Stress Overdrive

Chronic stress messes with our body’s harmony. It messes with our heart by cranking up blood pressure and heart rate, making heart disease more likely. Our immune system, our body’s defence squad, takes a hit too, leaving us vulnerable to all sorts of bugs and illnesses.

And guess what? Stress likes to show up in physical ways too – headaches, tense muscles, stomach problems – you name it. It even sparks inflammation, the troublemaker behind many long-term health issues.


The Brain-Body Tag Team

Stress isn’t just a body thing; it messes with our head too. It’s like a tag team match between stress and our brain. Chronic stress often leads to anxiety and depression, turning our mind into a battlefield. The mind and body become partners in crime, making each other worse in a never-ending loop.

Stress: The Sneaky Precursor to Diseases

Hold on, there’s more. Research shows that stress isn’t just causing problems – it’s opening the door to serious diseases. Diabetes? Stress messes with our blood sugar and insulin, making diabetes more likely. Cancer? While stress isn’t the direct cause, it’s like giving cancer a head starts by weakening our body’s defences.

Getting a Grip on Stress

Now, here’s the silver lining – we don’t have to be stuck in a stressful city forever. Managing stress is like giving it a pink slip. Exercise, finding your zen through things like meditation, and having a solid support crew are like stressbusters. They kick stress to the curb, making room for a healthier, more chill life.

Stress isn’t just a pesky annoyance; it’s a serious troublemaker messing with our health and paving the way for diseases. Understanding how stress throws our body and mind out of whack is the first step to kicking it to the curb. So, let’s trade in the stress for some good vibes, and make way for a healthier, happier life.