Have you ever been warned that if you keep stressing about things, you’ll worry yourself to death? What was your reaction? Most people brush off such advice, feeling things are personal, and they can’t help it; plus, how can you die from stress? However, it turns out that’s good advice because there’s a link between distress and mortality. According to scientists, persistent stress is harmful to one’s health and increases one’s risk of dying from cancer, liver disease, or cardiovascular disease. Why break a sweat over matters, whether small or large and increase your risk of dying when you could break a sweat at the gym or do other activities such as meditation to keep your mind healthy? Mental health is more important than most people think.
Mental health is more important than most people think. Let our experts help you overcome your stress symptoms.
Here, we look at what can happen if stress is left unchecked.
Understanding the Link Between Stress and Increased Mortality
We are living in a time of immense adversity. Many people are affected by financial hardships, family breakdowns, war, numerous personal concerns, lethal infectious diseases, and calamities caused by nature or man. According to the American Institute of Stress, approximately 55% of the US population reports feeling stressed daily. 77% of the population feel stress affects their physical well-being. 73% feel their stress affects their mental health, and 48% report difficulty sleeping due to stress. Extreme stress is toxic. According to a
Can You Worry Yourself to Death?
Stress has been linked to an increased risk of death from some liver disorders. It has been observed that under stressful conditions, natural killer cells proliferate in the liver, contributing to liver cell inflammation and death. Stress has also been shown to influence the brain region that controls the blood flow to the liver and increases the risk of liver damage. Stress also leads to the overproduction of cortisol, aka the stress molecule. Dangers of elevated cortisol levels include memory loss, decreased learning capacity, decreased bone density, low immunity, and increased heart disease, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Stress also hastens the aging process. Indeed, according to research findings presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology conference in Barcelona, Spain, the DNA of individuals without significant depression looks eight months younger than the DNA of those with depression. So, it is safe to infer that stress raises the risk of dying from the various liver, cardiovascular, and other health disorders.
Is All Stress Bad, Though?
However, it’s important to note that anxiety isn’t always bad. It’s normal to feel nervous before a test, job interview, or big performance, and it can be a useful tool for increasing focus and energy. A healthy fear of risk might also help you stay away from dangerous situations. However, anxiety that is constant or extreme is destructive. Indeed, worrying prolongs no one’s life.
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Stress Side Effects
We all have different stress tolerance levels, so knowing when things are getting out of control is good. Realizing that you need help is a huge step, and it means you are on the road to feeling better. Some of the emotional and physical symptoms that stress is making you sick include:
- Increased headaches
- Low energy levels
- Becoming agitated easily
- Losing control
- Difficulty quieting your mind
- Loneliness and low self-esteem
- Extra sensitive skin
- Back-to-back colds
- Stomach upset, digestion issues and nausea
- keep you from eating
- Rapid heartbeat
- Loss of sexual desire
How Long Does It Take to Die From Stress?
According to science daily, stress reduces life expectancy by about 2.8 years. However, there are other risk factors that, when combined with stress, could accelerate or decrease your mortality beyond this estimate. Stress will weaken your immunity and resistance faster if you mix it with alcohol and smoking, make poor dietary choices, or already have a pre-existing heart or liver condition. In a 2003-2007 study involving nearly 5000 people aged 45 or older and with coronary heart disease, it was found that those with stress and anxiety were more likely to die after a short period. Researchers conducted monthly in-home visits throughout the study, asking the participants questions about their daily lives. 6% of them revealed signs of stress, and after a six-year follow-up, there were 1,337 deaths or heart attacks among the people in the study. Lack of exercise increases the negative effects of stress too. According to research, people who are not physically active have a shorter life expectancy of 2.4 years. That’s because it increases the risk of obesity and diabetes, increasing the risk of death from cardiovascular and liver diseases.
Do you take stress and anxiety lightly? That may not be a good idea. Stress is not good for your body. It causes it to release a mixture of chemicals that can negatively affect your body’s normal functioning and health. Knowing how to manage stress is good. You can try various exercises, yoga, and meditation routines. You can also make dietary and lifestyle changes, and if symptoms get worse, seek medical help.
- Does the Perception that Stress Affects Health Matter? The Association with Health and Mortality. (2013)