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Everybody has experienced stress at one time or another. It is generally not a pleasant experience, and most people would rather avoid it. However, what many do not realize is that stress can actually cause more serious health issues and illnesses if the stress continues for a significant period of time. The following are some health problems which stress can cause or exacerbate: 

Heart disease 

The chance of you developing serious heart disease is higher with the more stress you experience throughout your life. Researchers believe the reason for this might be faster blood flow and higher heart rate caused by stress. This produces triglycerides and cholesterol which contributes to the development of heart disease. Also, stress can prompt people to smoke and eat poorly which increases the risk of heart disease indirectly. 

Being overweight 

Obesity can be another health issue which stress can contribute to. Particularly of concern is the fat stored in the abdominal area which presents higher risk to health than fat stored in other parts of the body, such as arms and legs. Stress-induced release of the hormone cortisol exacerbates obesity and the storing of fat in the midsection. 


Stress has been shown to possibly exacerbate asthma. Also, parents who are consistently under stressful conditions may end up increasing the risk of their children having chronic asthma as adults, according to relevant studies. 


Increased risk of developing diabetes and stress is believed to be positively correlated. This means keeping your stress levels low can help to avoid diabetes. Much of this is possibly caused by unhealthy behaviors, such as drinking alcohol and poor diet decisions, which can lead to the development of diabetes. Also, you should be extra careful if you have Type 2 diabetes since stress can elevate glucose levels. 

Mental health issues 

Stress is one of the most prevalent causes of anxiety and depression. If you have a stressful job, you are 80% more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, according to some recent surveys. 

Severe headaches 

Of course, stress is widely known to be a cause of headaches. However, headaches from stress can actually develop into more than just mild annoyances. Stress-related headaches can end up being migraines which can many times be seriously debilitating. 

Gastrointestinal problems 

Stress can be the cause of many problems people experience with the gastrointestinal system. Some of these common issues include irritable bowel syndrome, chronic heartburn, and exacerbated ulcers. 

Aging faster than usual 

Research suggests stress can actually make you get older faster than normal. It has also been shown mothers experiencing constant stress will show effects of aging at a chromosomal level. It is estimated these mothers aged an additional 9 to 17 years due to stress. 

Alzheimer’s disease 

Stress may play a role in exacerbating Alzheimer’s disease, suggested a recent scientific study conducted with animals. The research indicates stress can worsen Alzheimer’s disease by prompting brain lesions to grow more quickly. 

Early death 

Research studying caretakers for older people show these caretakers have a 63% higher chance of dying than non-caretakers of equal age. Since caretakers are under more stress than most people, this means stress could be a contributing cause of premature death. 

Less stress means longer and better life 

With all of these health issues potentially caused by stress, it would make sense that reducing stress will help you live healthier while increasing your longevity. Taking care of yourself and alleviating stress as much as possible will improve your chances of reaching and experiencing your retirement years in a healthy state.