How stressed am I?


Stress can be both a good thing and a bad thing but what is it really doing to our physical health if we are stressed on a constant basis day after day?

Most of us know that certain lifestyle habits such as smoking or lack of exercise could jeopardise our health but what we do need to pay more attention to his stress. If switched on for too long stress can wreak havoc on our physical and mental wellbeing and by learning how chronic stress affects our mind and body our awareness will identify the importance of finding ways to reduce the stress load.

Hormone levels

The stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, speed up your heartbeat and send blood rushing to the areas where it is needed most in an emergency. Typically, this will be muscles, heart and other important to organs. But when these hormones remain high due to persistent low level stress, they do affect most areas of the body.


Most of us occasionally suffer from butterflies in the stomach! This is caused by nerve endings and immune cells in the digestive tract when they’re affected by stress hormones. It is no surprise that stress affects your digestive system in other ways as well therefore, for instance, acid reflux as well as exacerbating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.


Under stress your heart pumps faster. The stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict and divert oxygen away from the extremities and towards your muscles to help you move quickly. This raises your blood pressure. When your blood pressure rises so does your risk of stroke and heart attack.


When you’re stressed you’re probably not sleeping well, but stress can affect sleep in other ways - in particular if you’re producing stress hormones. Normally cortisol rises in the morning to wake you up and declines through the day but when you’re constantly under stress this pattern can change, meaning that you wake up tired but can be buzzing at bedtime. Has this happened to you?


Although little is known about how stress contributes to the diabetes risk, one theory is that cortisol alters the body’s sensitivity to insulin which makes stress a risk factor for diabetes. Studies have looked at stress as a pathway to developing diabetes and found evidence that chronic stress can initiate changes in the immune system that may result, or increase the likelihood of, develop developing type two diabetes


Health experts can’t agree whether or not stress causes cancer and most of the large-scale studies are inconclusive. However, stressful situations can lead us to develop unhealthy habits such as smoking, overeating and heavy drinking, these are habits which do increase the risk of cancer.


As anyone who has frozen in the middle of a speech knows, stress reduces your ability to recall information. What is less known is that over time, chronic stress can lead to memory impairment; in fact they can shrink your hippocampus which is the part of the brain that regulates in motion.

If you are stressed about your stress levels then please visit your doctor.

Remember, Mayfair we care.