April is Stress Awareness Month

April marks Stress Awareness Month in the United States, let's shine a spotlight on reducing stress and elevating wellness!

posted on 4/4/2024 in Features

Here at St. Anthony, we are dedicated to improving the health of the people we serve. Since April is Stress Awareness Month, let’s look at all the ways chronic stress can affect our health, both physical and mental.

  • Stress can lead to increased heart rate and quickened breathing, impacting the cardiovascular system.
  • Hormones released during stress, like adrenaline and cortisol, can raise blood pressure, potentially leading to heart disease.
  • Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, making individuals more prone to infections and illnesses.
  • Prolonged stress can suppress immune functions, making it harder for the body to fight off pathogens.
  • Chronic stress may lead to frequent illnesses such as colds and infections.
  • Stress can exacerbate inflammatory conditions like arthritis and asthma, worsening symptoms.
  • Unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as overeating or turning to screens, cigarettes, or alcohol, are common under stress.
    • Using screens as distractions can lead to a sedentary lifestyle and decline in mental and physical health.
    • Overeating may result in weight gain and diabetes.
    • Cigarettes and alcohol can weaken the immune system and contribute to cancer development.

Chronic stress is not something you should live with. Often, we tell ourselves to power through stress. While this strategy may have worked in the beginning, repeated, and prolonged exposure to stress is not normal. The human body, although resilient, was not made to endure chronic stress. If you struggle with substance abuse, weakened immune systems, and/or frequent autoimmune flare-ups, schedule an appointment with a provider at St. Anthony Regional Hospital.