Stress Can Worsen Existing Conditions

Credit: iStock/ljubaphoto
As if you don’t have enough to worry about.

Stress is, primarily, a mental and emotional ailment. It makes you antsy, frustrated, short-tempered, and occasionally desperate. However, your physical health is deeply linked with your mental and emotional health. If your brain starts dedicating processes to agonizing over stressful events, that’s processes being taken away from the regular goings-on of your body. Your body can go metaphorically blind with stress, and during that period of blindness, an existing problem can get a lot worse.


Those who suffer from chronic stress are often told to be mindful of their blood pressure. Being extremely stressed is not unlike being extremely angry, and when you’re extremely angry, your blood starts pumping much faster. This isn’t exactly a problem on its own (though it is rather exhausting), but increasing your rate of blood flow can be dangerous if you’re at high risk of heart disease, or worse, heart attacks.

Speaking of chest problems, stress is also known to provoke asthma attacks. High stress can lead to panic, and panic is a common cause of shortness of breath. Shortness of breath can become a real danger if your breathing is hampered in some way. Worse, this can actually lead to a cycle in which your asthma is worsened by your stress, which causes your stress to increase, which worsens your asthma.

Credit: Fit for Work

The only thing stress doesn’t cause is ulcers, at least not directly. That’s a myth that’s long since been disproven. However, if you suffer from existing gastrointestinal conditions such as ulcers, internal hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, or acid reflux, stress can exacerbate your symptoms. Unlike the other cases, it’s not as well understood why this happens, but the fact of the matter is that it does.

If you find yourself consistently suffering from high stress, you need to find a way to remedy it, and pronto. It’s bad enough on its own, but you don’t want to have stress weighing you down when you’ve already got other bodily conditions to put up with.