Anxiety and Health Problems

Reviewed Mar 2, 2017

Close

E-mail Article

Complete form to e-mail article…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

Separate multiple recipients with a comma

Close

Sign-Up For Newsletters

Complete this form to sign-up for newsletters…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

 

Summary

Anxiety can create health issues because of the way the body handles fear. Adrenalin and other stress hormones play a role in health problems.
 

If you are anxious, you may recognize that anxiety causes body symptoms. When anxiety is intense, many people report symptoms such as:

  • Sweating
  • Heart pounding
  • Nausea
  • Racing thoughts
  • Poor sleep
  • Stomachaches and headaches
  • Scary thoughts
  • Tingling legs and arms

You may wonder what is really happening inside your body. You may wonder if you could be worrying yourself into real medical problems. There are health issues that can be made worse by anxiety. There are also health conditions that develop as a result of anxiety.

Common medical issues that can result from anxiety are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Tension headaches
  • Migraine headaches
  • Digestive problems
  • Allergies
  • Eczema
  • Unwanted weight loss

Your doctor may recommend that you get treatment for anxiety when you present with the above problems. These problems can be caused by other factors such as genetics, but they also can result from anxiety.

Understanding “fight or flight”

When you have anxiety, your body prepares for “fight or flight.” This means that your body senses there is something to fear, and releases adrenalin into your bloodstream. When our ancestors were cavemen, this was a necessary body response. It allowed them to fight predators or run from danger. Other stress hormones as well are released into the bloodstream when the body senses fear.

Presently, we have much less need for the fight-or-flight response, except for rare situations. If you are a victim of crime, this is a good body response to have. Often our fearful thoughts trigger this response when it is not needed. Adrenalin is what causes you to feel jumpy and allows your heart to work harder to pump blood. It also directs blood flow from your digestive system (because you probably won’t feel hungry) to your arms and legs (to allow you to run). This is why anxiety symptoms can feel exactly like how you would feel if someone broke into your home, or attacked you in an alley.

If anxiety symptoms continue and you notice you are having difficulty living your life, imagine the effect it can have on your body over time. We are not meant to be in a fight-or-flight state for long periods of time. When this happens, anxiety can very much interfere with good health. The immune system can overreact to stress. Breathing and blood flow can be affected. Muscle tension and stomachaches can become more common. You can learn more about how your body responds to anxiety by talking to your doctor, and paying attention to signs of sickness.

Having anxiety now and then is normal. Some life events are sure to cause some anxiety symptoms. Often people experience anxiety in situations like:

  • Getting married
  • Getting divorced
  • Starting a job
  • Losing a job
  • Having a new baby
  • Losing a loved one
  • Taking an exam
  • Fighting with a friend
  • Facing legal problems
  • Facing financial problems
  • Adjusting to a new diagnosis/being ill
  • Recovering from trauma or crime

You may realize you are struggling with a stressful situation and experiencing anxious thoughts. There are ways to protect and nurture yourself when having a hard time. Some suggestions are:

  • Spend time with trusted friends and family.
  • Talk with a therapist about your feelings.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Eat nutritious foods.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Avoid drugs, alcohol, and caffeine.
  • Learn relaxation exercises or meditation.
  • Focus on the positive.
By Rebecca Steil-Lambert, MSW, LICSW, MPH
Source: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_self_help.htm; http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/complete-index.shtml; http://www.adaa.org/finding-help/treatment/
Reviewed by Maria F. Rodowski-Stanco, MD, Associate Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Anxiety can create health issues because of the way the body handles fear. Adrenalin and other stress hormones play a role in health problems.
 

If you are anxious, you may recognize that anxiety causes body symptoms. When anxiety is intense, many people report symptoms such as:

  • Sweating
  • Heart pounding
  • Nausea
  • Racing thoughts
  • Poor sleep
  • Stomachaches and headaches
  • Scary thoughts
  • Tingling legs and arms

You may wonder what is really happening inside your body. You may wonder if you could be worrying yourself into real medical problems. There are health issues that can be made worse by anxiety. There are also health conditions that develop as a result of anxiety.

Common medical issues that can result from anxiety are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Tension headaches
  • Migraine headaches
  • Digestive problems
  • Allergies
  • Eczema
  • Unwanted weight loss

Your doctor may recommend that you get treatment for anxiety when you present with the above problems. These problems can be caused by other factors such as genetics, but they also can result from anxiety.

Understanding “fight or flight”

When you have anxiety, your body prepares for “fight or flight.” This means that your body senses there is something to fear, and releases adrenalin into your bloodstream. When our ancestors were cavemen, this was a necessary body response. It allowed them to fight predators or run from danger. Other stress hormones as well are released into the bloodstream when the body senses fear.

Presently, we have much less need for the fight-or-flight response, except for rare situations. If you are a victim of crime, this is a good body response to have. Often our fearful thoughts trigger this response when it is not needed. Adrenalin is what causes you to feel jumpy and allows your heart to work harder to pump blood. It also directs blood flow from your digestive system (because you probably won’t feel hungry) to your arms and legs (to allow you to run). This is why anxiety symptoms can feel exactly like how you would feel if someone broke into your home, or attacked you in an alley.

If anxiety symptoms continue and you notice you are having difficulty living your life, imagine the effect it can have on your body over time. We are not meant to be in a fight-or-flight state for long periods of time. When this happens, anxiety can very much interfere with good health. The immune system can overreact to stress. Breathing and blood flow can be affected. Muscle tension and stomachaches can become more common. You can learn more about how your body responds to anxiety by talking to your doctor, and paying attention to signs of sickness.

Having anxiety now and then is normal. Some life events are sure to cause some anxiety symptoms. Often people experience anxiety in situations like:

  • Getting married
  • Getting divorced
  • Starting a job
  • Losing a job
  • Having a new baby
  • Losing a loved one
  • Taking an exam
  • Fighting with a friend
  • Facing legal problems
  • Facing financial problems
  • Adjusting to a new diagnosis/being ill
  • Recovering from trauma or crime

You may realize you are struggling with a stressful situation and experiencing anxious thoughts. There are ways to protect and nurture yourself when having a hard time. Some suggestions are:

  • Spend time with trusted friends and family.
  • Talk with a therapist about your feelings.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Eat nutritious foods.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Avoid drugs, alcohol, and caffeine.
  • Learn relaxation exercises or meditation.
  • Focus on the positive.
By Rebecca Steil-Lambert, MSW, LICSW, MPH
Source: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_self_help.htm; http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/complete-index.shtml; http://www.adaa.org/finding-help/treatment/
Reviewed by Maria F. Rodowski-Stanco, MD, Associate Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Anxiety can create health issues because of the way the body handles fear. Adrenalin and other stress hormones play a role in health problems.
 

If you are anxious, you may recognize that anxiety causes body symptoms. When anxiety is intense, many people report symptoms such as:

  • Sweating
  • Heart pounding
  • Nausea
  • Racing thoughts
  • Poor sleep
  • Stomachaches and headaches
  • Scary thoughts
  • Tingling legs and arms

You may wonder what is really happening inside your body. You may wonder if you could be worrying yourself into real medical problems. There are health issues that can be made worse by anxiety. There are also health conditions that develop as a result of anxiety.

Common medical issues that can result from anxiety are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Tension headaches
  • Migraine headaches
  • Digestive problems
  • Allergies
  • Eczema
  • Unwanted weight loss

Your doctor may recommend that you get treatment for anxiety when you present with the above problems. These problems can be caused by other factors such as genetics, but they also can result from anxiety.

Understanding “fight or flight”

When you have anxiety, your body prepares for “fight or flight.” This means that your body senses there is something to fear, and releases adrenalin into your bloodstream. When our ancestors were cavemen, this was a necessary body response. It allowed them to fight predators or run from danger. Other stress hormones as well are released into the bloodstream when the body senses fear.

Presently, we have much less need for the fight-or-flight response, except for rare situations. If you are a victim of crime, this is a good body response to have. Often our fearful thoughts trigger this response when it is not needed. Adrenalin is what causes you to feel jumpy and allows your heart to work harder to pump blood. It also directs blood flow from your digestive system (because you probably won’t feel hungry) to your arms and legs (to allow you to run). This is why anxiety symptoms can feel exactly like how you would feel if someone broke into your home, or attacked you in an alley.

If anxiety symptoms continue and you notice you are having difficulty living your life, imagine the effect it can have on your body over time. We are not meant to be in a fight-or-flight state for long periods of time. When this happens, anxiety can very much interfere with good health. The immune system can overreact to stress. Breathing and blood flow can be affected. Muscle tension and stomachaches can become more common. You can learn more about how your body responds to anxiety by talking to your doctor, and paying attention to signs of sickness.

Having anxiety now and then is normal. Some life events are sure to cause some anxiety symptoms. Often people experience anxiety in situations like:

  • Getting married
  • Getting divorced
  • Starting a job
  • Losing a job
  • Having a new baby
  • Losing a loved one
  • Taking an exam
  • Fighting with a friend
  • Facing legal problems
  • Facing financial problems
  • Adjusting to a new diagnosis/being ill
  • Recovering from trauma or crime

You may realize you are struggling with a stressful situation and experiencing anxious thoughts. There are ways to protect and nurture yourself when having a hard time. Some suggestions are:

  • Spend time with trusted friends and family.
  • Talk with a therapist about your feelings.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Eat nutritious foods.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Avoid drugs, alcohol, and caffeine.
  • Learn relaxation exercises or meditation.
  • Focus on the positive.
By Rebecca Steil-Lambert, MSW, LICSW, MPH
Source: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_self_help.htm; http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/complete-index.shtml; http://www.adaa.org/finding-help/treatment/
Reviewed by Maria F. Rodowski-Stanco, MD, Associate Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

Close

  • Useful Tools

    Select a tool below

© 2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.