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Recognizing the Symptoms of Stress
In order to figure out if you are stressed, it is necessary to know the symptoms of stress. Fortunately, these are usually fairly obvious, making stress easy to diagnose. However, it is never a bad idea to make sure that you know the symptoms of stress if you are not sure. In fact, some people are so stressed all the time that they never notice the difference. So, if you show some of the following symptoms, you may want to slow down and let yourself unwind.
One of the most obvious symptoms of stress is, of course, constant worrying. In fact, that is, in many ways, stress itself. Being perpetually concerned about money, work, lay offs, your kids, your health, or anything at all is a sure sign of stress. This can also be called anxiety, and it is not good for you. Worry is sometimes unavoidable, but consistent worrying is a problem that can produce health problems.
As well, one of the most obvious symptoms of stress is the headache. Everyone knows that too much stress can cause your head to pound as though it was being attacked by a jackhammer but not many people know that too much stress can cause headaches when you relax. In fact, if you are under constant stress all week and you finally relax on, let's say, Saturday, you are going to have a wicked headache the one day you are relaxing. If you find that you have consistent headaches on the weekends, the cause is probably stress.
Another symptom of stress is high blood pressure, caused by constricting blood vessels. When stress occurs, the circulatory system tightens the arteries and speeds up the heart. This is one of the scarier symptoms of stress because high blood pressure can be very dangerous. In fact, consistent stress can cause an increase in risk for heart attacks and stroke. You want to avoid this, so try to avoid stress.
As well, stress can also cause ulcers. There is some research showing that ulcers are actually caused by infection and stress weakens the immune system. Thus, the bacteria that causes ulcers is allowed to run unchecked and bleeding in the stomach and esophagus can occur. Though you may not end up with ulcers, stress can also make you more susceptible to colds and flu, which will leave your body in a much worse state that it was in previously. Nobody wants to get sick, but stress can make you more vulnerable to illness.
Included in the list of symptoms of stress are memory problems. If you find yourself struggling to recall facts that you know you made a point to put into your head, you may be under stress. These memory problems are caused by the body shutting down the memory pathways when stress gets to be too much. Though immediate and sudden stress can cause your memory to heighten -- such as during a car accident -- prolonged stress actually makes your memory worse. When you find yourself having memory problems, you may want to relax in order to reduce stress.
Other symptoms of stress include sleep problems. These sleep problems may run anywhere from nightmares to sleepwalking to sleep apnea. As well, insomnia can result from too much stress, as can hypersomnia -- being excessively tired all the time. Most people do not know this, but the brain is very active during sleep. It is the time when your brain is allowed to sort through all the things that have been consuming it and stress can upset your mind in sleep just as it can when you are awake. Thus, your brain is trying to deal with everything that was bothering it during the day and it cannot keep up.
Thus, stress can cause you all manner of problems when your mind is finally allowed to, in a way, sort through the file folders and try to find solutions. Unfortunately, this can lead to some very strange results. Sleepwalking is the scariest for those who have experienced it, because the find themselves in a strange place when they wake up. However, sleep apnea can have the most dangerous consequences, as it causes you to stop breathing while you sleep. Many people suffering from sleep apnea can wake up one hundred to two hundred times during the night, which means your body is not getting the sleep it needs.
Finally, stress can also cause a swelling of the joints, which can cause severe pain in people with arthritis. Since arthritic people have swollen joints anyway, the excessive swelling caused by stress can lead to some very painful attacks. If your arthritis is causing you a lot of problems, or you find that your joints are sore all the time, stress may be the cause.
Stress is not just a mental problem. In fact, many of the symptoms of stress are distinct, physical issues that can be anywhere from difficult to life threatening. If you find that you have any of the symptoms listed above, stress may the cause. Check with your doctor to see what he or she thinks, then determine the next course of action. Symptoms of stress can cause serious health problems down the road, so try to keep stress down and keep your body healthy.
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