The Physical Effects of Long-Term Stress
High Blood Pressure
Known as hypertension, this is a very common chronic disease which usually has no obvious symptoms. But it raises your risk of stroke, heart failure, kidney failure and heart attack.
Stress increases blood pressure in the short term, so chronic stress may contribute to a permanently raised blood pressure. If you have a family history of hypertension and heart problems, make sure you have regular checkups with your doctor, and try to follow his advice.
Susceptibility to Infection
There is no doubt that under stress the immune system is suppressed, making you more vulnerable to infections. Allergies and autoimmune diseases (including arthritis and multiple sclerosis) may be exacerbated by stress. This effect can be partly offset by social support from friends and family. Being stressed also slows the rate at which you recover from any illnesses you already have.
Stress is known to aggravate skin problems such as acne, psoriasis and eczema. It also has been linked to unexplained itchy skin rashes. These skin problems are themselves intensely stressful.
Continued stimulation of muscles through prolonged stress can lead to muscular pain such as backache. Together with our sedentary lifestyles and bad posture, this makes back, shoulder and neck ache extremely widespread.