The month of October has been an extremely stressful month for my Family and I. My family has been through tremendous health issues lately and from what I know and experience, I believe stress is a big part of causing issues with our body. I recently got the Shingles virus and thought I would never get this due to my immune system running strong with having an autoimmune condition. I now believe that Shingles is stress related. Stress is extremely harsh on our bodies however there are answers and solutions to stress.
Stress symptoms may be affecting your health, even though you might not immediately aware of it. You may think illness is to blame for that nagging headache, your frequent insomnia or your decreased productivity at work. But stress may actually be the culprit.
Thinking that stress is bad and we need to be rid of it? If you are alive, you will have stress. Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to both good and bad experiences that can be beneficial to your health and safety. Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones and increasing your heart and breathing rates. Your brain gets more oxygen, giving you an edge in responding to a problem. In the short term, stress helps you cope with tough situations.
Stress can be triggered by the pressures of everyday responsibilities at work and at home. As you might know, negative life events like divorce or the death of a loved one can cause stress. Physical illness can also cause stress, as well as Traumatic stress, brought on by war, disaster, or a violent attack, can keep your body’s stress levels elevated far longer than is necessary for survival.
Stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can give you a preparation on managing stress.
Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes and more.
Common stress effects on your body can be Headaches, Muscle tension or pain, Chest pain, Fatigue, Change in sex drive, Stomach upset, or Sleep problems.
Common stress effects on your mood can be Anxiety, Restlessness, Lack of motivation or focus, Irritability or anger, Sadness or depression
Common stress effects on your behavior can be Overeating or under eating, Angry outbursts, Drug or alcohol abuse, Tobacco use, or Social withdrawal.
If you have any of these stress symptoms, taking steps to manage your stress can have numerous health benefits. Explore stress management strategies, such as: Physical activity, Relaxation techniques, Meditation, Yoga, Tai chi. Also be sure to get plenty of sleep, eat a balanced diet, and avoid tobacco use and excess caffeine and alcohol intake.
If you are not sure if stress is the cause of your symptoms or if you’ve taken steps to control your stress but your symptoms continue, see your doctor. Your doctor may want to check for other potential causes.
Also, if you have chest pain, especially if it occurs during physical activity or is accompanied by shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness, nausea, or pain radiating into your shoulder and arm, then get emergency help immediately. These may be warning signs of a heart attack and not simply stress symptoms. Chronic stress can cause a variety of symptoms and can affect your overall health and well being.
So with all of this said, I wondered if my Shingles was brought on by stress. Turns out stress does not technically cause shingles, but stress can cause your immune system to weaken and a weakened immune system can put you at risk for shingles.
Shingles is a viral illness, which is caused by the varicella zoster virus, which happens to be the same virus that causes chickenpox. The virus lives in your body and reactivates when your immune system is suppressed. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1 million people in the United States experience a shingles outbreak every year.
If you get shingles, stress can exacerbate your misery, by making the itching, burning, painful rash seem worse and lengthening your recovery time.
So when it comes to stress we now know it is actually a natural safety measure for our bodies. Stress does not cause a virus like Shingles, but instead the suppressed immune system can let viruses in. When stress is triggered it means it is time to take measures to manage your stress!
Thank you for reading!
Neil Saint Angeland