Physical aspects of stress

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:47 pm
Doctors are discovering that negative emotional stress can have a physical impact. It can affect your body in many ways. Some forms of temporary hair loss have been linked to stress. The heart might react to stress with periodic angina (ann-JYE-nah), or chest pain, and disturbances in heart rate and rhythm. Stress can lead to nervous indigestion, diarrhea, and an irritable colon. In addition, it's known to cause temporary increases in blood pressure. Grinding of teeth and mouth ulcers occur during times of stress, as do outbreaks of skin problems. Minor muscular twitches and tics become more noticeable when you're under pressure. If you have asthma, you may find that your condition worsens. Recently, scientists have found that stress can impair memory, because it triggers the release of a hormone that interferes with the brain's ability to store information. Even reproductive organs can be affected, causing menstrual cycle disturbances in women, and impotence or premature ejaculation in men. For more information on the physical effects of stress, contact a health care provider.

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