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Introduction to stress (part 2): Health-related risks due to stress

Posted on Sep 12, 2017

Would stress affect your health? (image source)


        As discussed in this article, how you naturally respond to stressful situations is actually very useful for you. While you tend to return to your usual relaxed self once the stressful event is over, there will be occasions when the stress persists, and this could lead to short and long-term health risks.

          In the short-term, you may experience physical discomfort listed below, which may persist depending on how well you are managing your stress levels. The possible symptoms include1,2,3:

  • racing heart beat (palpitations)
  • wanting to vomit (nausea)
  • cold sweat
  • trembling
  • feeling faint/ wanting to faint
  • headaches/ lightheadedness
  • stiff neck/ tight shoulders
  • back aches
  • sweaty palms
  • fast, shallow breathing
  • gastrointestinal difficulties, such as digestive issues, gastritis or diarrhea
  • bladder urgency (needing frequent toilet breaks)


        Many clients who come for consultations with a therapist due to stress/ anxiety frequently report uncomfortable physical sensations such as the above. This affects a person’s overall well-being, and can prove to be a hindrance to live a wholesome and relaxed life.

         If the stress continues over a long period of time, this may lead to further health-related complications. Among the possible risks due to stress are1,2,3:

  • lowered immune system, which makes a person more susceptible to illnesses
  • heart disease
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • high blood pressure
  • development of stomach ulcers
  • chronic muscle aches (back, shoulders, neck)
  • lowered fertility
  • depression and/or anxiety
  • chronic sleeping difficulties


         As can be seen, experiencing stress does not only affect your mental health and well-being. It is also closely related to your physical health. Ignoring signs of stress can indeed lead to serious long-term complications. In order to live a healthy life, it is important to learn how to live in a balanced manner and to manage stress effectively.



  1. Griffin, M. R. 10 health problems related to stress that you can fix. (2014).
  2. MayoClinic. Chronic stress puts your health at risk. (2016).
  3. WebMD. The effects of stress on your body. (2016).

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