Effects of Stress on the Body

Stress is a normal process!

Yes, stress is a very normal and important biological mechanism that is very well designed to make us alert, reactive and increases our chances of survival in times of perceived danger. Historically this would have included escaping predators, preparing to weather storms and so on. Even now, it is the stress response that kicks in when we discover a fire on the stove, the children in a life-threatening situation. However, most stress in our modern society is not caused by the survival instinct – it is caused by time pressures, performance demands and challenges we face on a daily basis.

Stress = To force the body: when we demand ourselves to do too much. This is often where the pressures of work come in. Loss of energy often occurs and can result in a reduced capacity to ensure your vital force. Your body struggles to stay healthy.

However, there are many sources of Stress – some might come as a surprise!

Work/life Stress: this is what we tend to think of when we think of stress. Mostly this is emotional stress – see below.

Allergic Stress: Allergies are a source of stress in that the reactions cause great changes of energy on the part of your immune system to wage a fight against what your body considers dangerous, plus the resulting inflammation adds to the stress.

Stress by disease: A cold, a fracture, an infection, a backache. All initiate changes in your physical condition.

Stress by environmental change: Cold climates or even the change in climate, plus of couse contamination by toxins or pollution is also stressful.

Stress by Tobacco: tobacco is a strong toxin. Carbon monoxide causes a chronic poisoning and damages the blood vessels, lungs, nose and throat. The risk of cancer is increased up to 50 times.

Emotional Stress: lawsuits, family discord, study, job or financial problems and other conflicts.

Stress by hormonal factors: this happens at puberty, with premenstrual syndrome, during pregnancy and after childbirth and at menopause and andropause. Read about testing hormones here.

So why is Stress so Bad?

Stress becomes an unhelpful mechanism when it is prolonged. The short term changes that happen when the stress response kicks in – such as faster heart rate, increased blood pressure, increased rate of breathing, reduction of blood supply to digestive organs and skin, which can cause problems in those organs – are potentially harmful when induced over a long period of time. Which is exactly what happens.

How do I know if Stress is causing my health problems?

The physical manifestations of stress are numerous. According to the American Institute of Stress, about 90% of health problems can be attributed to stress of some kind.

Symptoms may include:

  • Raised blood pressure
  • Faster heart rate, palpitations, irregular beat patterns
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart & blood vessel disease, leading to heart attack or stroke.
  • Skin problems – for example dry skin, dandruff, aggravation of eczema etc
  • Digestive disorders, such as IBS, diarrhoea, constipation, indigestion, ulcers.
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Eating disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Worsened (or new) asthma or other respiratory problems
  • Diminished immunity – causing increased incidence of colds, flu, minor ailments and longer recovery times.
  • Fluid retention or oedema
  • Chronic neck and shoulder pain and stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Unstable or broken relationships
  • Difficulty dealing with minor problems
  • Depression
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Weight gain OR weight loss

..the list goes on


At House of Health you will have a comprehensive stress assessment, the purpose of which is to identify the major manifestations of stress in your physical body. We may recommend functional testing (such as an Adrenal Fatigue test) to analyse the degree of overwork by the organs affected. We will recommend lifestyle interventions that are suitable for you, your lifestyle and goals. Strategies to improve sleep and restore energy are important factors here.

We will recommend a regime of physiological support, to help rebalance your system and support your body to repair damaged organs and tissues. This may include nutritional therapy, supplements and/or herbal medicine.

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