Do you know about these common stress indicators?

If stress were an infectious disease, it would probably be considered at pandemic proportions. Stress isn’t necessarily harmful in small doses, but severe, unrelenting stress can result in serious consequences for your physical, emotional and mental health. If you’re having trouble coping, or if you’re experiencing unusual physical symptoms, the doctors and nurses at West Hills Hospital are here to help.

Behavioral changes
Stress can influence the day-to-day decisions you make. When you’re feeling the pressure, you might:

  • Skip exercising
  • Eat sugary or fatty foods
  • Consume alcohol
  • Smoke cigarettes
  • Use illicit, recreational substances

These behavioral issues might temporarily help you feel better, but in the long run, they’ll make the situation worse.

Mood changes
It’s common for chronic stress to cause anxiety . But some people experience mood changes that seem unrelated. Stress can lead a person to:

  • Become excessively irritable at a minor inconvenience
  • Have a burst of anger
  • Think or act in a hostile or aggressive manner

Cognitive issues
Stress can even affect a person’s ability to work or study productively. It may take longer to complete work, given that stress can cause:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble learning new information
  • Forgetfulness
  • Disorganization
  • Confusion
  • Poor motivation
  • Problems making decisions and exercising judgment

Physical symptoms
Many people with chronic stress experience unusual physical symptoms that can’t be attributed to any other cause. Stress often results in gastrointestinal symptoms, like indigestion, upset stomach or diarrhea. Stress-related dietary changes can make these gastrointestinal symptoms worse.

Other physical signs and symptoms can include:

  • General aches and pains
  • Headache
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid heartbeat/heart palpitations
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle tension
  • Neck or back pain
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Increased frequency of illnesses

Although stress and anxiety can cause chest pain and heart palpitations, these symptoms may also indicate a life-threatening medical emergency. If there’s even a slight possibility that you may be experiencing a heart attack, please seek emergency care without delay.

No matter what health challenges you’re facing in life, we’re here for you. West Hills Hospital is staffed by providers who genuinely care about improving your quality of life. Call our nurse referral line at (818) 676-4321 for general information about our medical services available in West Hills.

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