Anxiety: How Can It Affect Your Health?

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Written By Online Figure

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Have you ever been in a situation where you felt paralyzed and distressed because of excessive fear and worry? You’ve tried your best to prepare yourself for the situation but when the time came you panicked and things went beyond your control. All of us do experience anxiety occasionally. It’s quite normal for you to feel anxious before an examination, a presentation or before an interview. This can help you put in the extra effort and cause you to improve your performance in normal situations.

However, some people suffer from chronic levels of anxiety and they are unable to function normally in their daily lives. They worry excessively and have unrealistic fears that go out of control most of the time. The sudden feeling of fear and terror causes them to panic. As a precaution, most of the people try to avoid places and situations to prevent these feelings that evoke terror in them. While anxiety disorder is easily recognizable by changes in behavior, it could have serious consequences on a person’s physical health too.

Causes of Anxiety Disorder:

The several factors that contribute to the problem of anxiety disorder include

  • Life experiences that were traumatic
  • Grief or loss of a loved one
  • Genetic reasons
  • Problems in family
  • Severe stress in work
  • Substance abuse
  • Side effects of medication
  • Mental health issues

What are some of the health problems that could arise out of anxiety disorder?

Chronic Respiratory Disorders:

Chronic Respiratory Disorders

People who suffer from asthma have air passages that contract due to spasms and this restricts a steady flow of air through the lungs. When the respiratory disorders are chronic air neither gets filled nor expelled through the lungs completely. With anxiety, breathing becomes shallow and rapid and this can make symptoms worse in an asthmatic patient.

Studies have shown that a good number of patients who suffer from chronic respiratory disorders have anxiety disorders and suffer from panic attacks as well. Though anxiety disorder is not responsible for the progression of this disease panic attacks could result in complications from anxiety and the patient might have to be hospitalized quite frequently.

Affects the Central Nervous System:

Affects the Central Nervous System

People who have anxiety disorders are likely to suffer from depression, frequent headaches, and dizziness. This is because the brain starts releasing stress hormones continuously when you suffer from anxiety and related disorders for a longer period. Cortisol and adrenaline are two hormones that help you to handle a threat when you feel anxious and nervous. Though these hormones help you handle occasional events that are stressful a long-term exposure could prove to be harmful to your physical health. Cortisol is responsible for unwanted weight gain and related issues like diabetes and heart disorders. You can understand the different ways by which anxiety can be prevented at

The Weakening of the Immune System:

The Weakening of the Immune System

Anxiety causes your body to release adrenaline hormones and other chemicals which increases your rate of breathing and pulse, causing more oxygen to flow into your brain. This helps you to handle tough situations in the right way.

But, being stressed throughout and continuous episodes of anxiety could stop your body from functioning normally and your immune system gets affected negatively. This makes you prone to several diseases as your body is unable to fight it.  At times this could also prevent medicines and vaccines from giving the desired results.

Cardiovascular Disorders:

Cardiovascular Disorders

Problems of anxiety could cause your body to react in such a way that it affects the normal functioning of your heart. Increased heart rate, pain, and tightness of chest and palpitations are seen in people with anxiety disorders. You also have a higher risk for heart diseases and increased blood pressure.

Anxiety could even be a threat to your life if you are a heart patient already. Rapid heart rate could result in a cardiac arrest. High blood pressure could damage the heart muscles and cause even a heart failure. Anxiety could also lead to a heart attack if your heart rate decreases.

Gastrointestinal Disturbances:

Gastrointestinal Disturbances

Another common health issue faced by people suffering from an anxiety disorder is problems with the gastrointestinal system. The symptoms could include stomach pains, nausea, and vomiting, burning sensation of the heart, acid reflux, constipation, and diarrhea. There are several studies with enough proof that a person suffering from gastrointestinal issues usually suffer from anxiety, stress, and related disorders. Two of the common gastrointestinal issues connected to anxiety disorders are Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder (GERD) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Lack of Appetite or Overeating:

Lack of Appetite or Overeating

Anxiety disorder causes different reactions in different people when it comes to taking food. Anxiety causes some people to lose their appetite causing them to eat very less or even skip meals. This could result in a severe nutritional deficiency, feeling tired and could lead to serious health issues. Some people, on the other hand, start to over-eat and their body craves for more and more food causing them to gain excessive weight in no time. This could affect your levels of energy and cause fatigue. Overweight could also affect a person’s health in general.

Numbness in Feet and Hands:

Numbness in Feet and Hands

Anxiety and panic attacks could cause your hands and feet to be numb. Even though not always, you could also experience numbness in the neck, scalp, face, and stomach.

Hair Fall:

Hair Fall

Another common health problem associated with anxiety disorder is hair fall. Severe hair loss could be the result of the stress related to anxiety disorders. Sometimes large portions of hair fall off causing big patches on the head. At times hair loss can be seen in other parts of your body too. Experiencing anxiety disorders for very long periods could even result in baldness in some people.

Most of the people who have anxiety disorder suffer from uncontrollable anxiety and the episode could last for a long period. Traumatic or stressful experiences that you’ve had could trigger anxiety disorder. You could start showing the symptoms of anxiety immediately or at a later stage in life. Once you recognize this problem in you or a loved one make sure that you get the right help immediately.

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