How to Tell if You Suffer From Chronic Stress


Chronic stress can cause serious complications to your health.


When it comes to your health, stress is a really important thing to be cognizant of. Stress, especially chronic stress can be linked to heart disease, stroke, and even some kinds of cancer. Overall, stress is rough on your immune system, so if you aren’t taking steps to combat it, your health is very likely to suffer on a fairly regular basis.

Chronic stress is a bit more serious than your everyday, run-of-the-mill stress, and happens when your body is constantly reacting to stress by releasing cortisol, which stays in your bloodstream. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that helps regulate the immune system and blood pressure, as well as carbohydrate metabolism.

READ MORE: Unusual Ways to Relieve Stress

Having cortisol constantly pumped into your blood because of chronic stress can cause a slew of health problems like anxiety, depression, headaches, sleeping issues, weight gain, digestive problems, heart disease, and pain conditions and syndromes. Consistent exposure to cortisol can eventually cause your systems to stop functioning correctly, either producing too much cortisol, or not enough. This can happen as a direct result of chronic stress.

So how do you tell if you are chronically stressed? The following issues could be signs that your cortisol is out of whack:


Chronic fatigue

Memory problems

Chronic pain issues like fibromyalgia

Irregular menses

Weight gain

Immune system issues

You can have your cortisol levels tested by a doctor if you suspect you may suffer from chronic stress, but the obvious solution is to manage your stress levels. There are tons of ways you can do this, from meditation, to yoga, exercise, getting more sleep, and changing your diet. The one thing I would say though, is that women who suffer from chronic stress often don’t want to admit that they can’t handle the daily stressors of their lives, and so it goes undiagnosed and untreated. It’s important to remember that your health is of paramount importance, so if you even suspect you may be suffering from chronic stress, consider a few small life changes. If those don’t work, consider some bigger ones.

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Published by karenmsutton

HSS Orthopaedic surgeon in sports medicine | Mother of 4 amazing children | Team physician for USA Women's Lacrosse | ACL injury expert

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