How Does Chronic Stress Affect Your Body?

Stressed Woman

We all constantly feel stress — from family, work, illness and whatever circumstances life decides to throw at us next. But stress can be a good thing when it happens in short doses.

In great times of need, cortisol, our main stress hormone, becomes the body's No. 1 sidekick — getting us ready to respond in a fight-or-flight situation. Adrenaline, another hormone activated by stress, gets our hearts pumping and our blood pressure up, causes our muscles tense and keeps our minds hyperfocused on the task at hand — just ask people who swear that they do their best work at the last minute.

But too much of a good thing is not good for our bodies in the long run. Chronic stress significantly increases risks for heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases. It also can cause problems, such as tension headaches, sexual dysfunction and hair loss. It can also have a devastating impact on your mental health.

In the infographic below, find out 13 ways stress affects your body:

Chronic Stress Infographic