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For years, people used to debate whether stress had any affect on health, but according to the National Institutes of Health, stress cannot only hurt our bodies, it can hurt our minds.

“It’s long been known that blood pressure and cholesterol levels go up in people who are stressed. Studies have now linked chronic stress with cardiovascular problems like hypertension, coronary heart disease and stroke.”

And according to Dr. Esther Sternberg, the immune system is also affected by stress. Chronic stress can backfire and cause people to heal more slowly.

In addition, certain hormones that are released when stressed, such as cortisol and catecholamines, have been tied to the long-term affects of stress.

Dr. Bruce McEwen of Rockefeller University explains that chronic stress can also have adverse affects on the brain.

““Hyperactivity of the stress response results in changes over time in the circuitry of the brain,” he says.

Brain cells bombarded by stress signals have little time to recover and eventually start to shrink. That may explain why higher levels of stress hormones are associated with low memory in some studies.

Also, people who are under stress may tend to make lifestyle choices that are less than healthy such as reaching for eating comfort foods laden with fat, drinking more or skipping exercise.

Thanks Complete Counseling for the reminder that stress is a serious health consideration and there are options for treatment.

December 19, 2008 - 11:35am


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