8 Ways Stress Affects Your Body

Stress Is Your "Fight or Flight" Response

Stress affects your whole body. Your breathing and heart rate quicken, your blood pressure rises, and other body systems kick into high gear. This is your body’s natural reaction to danger—the “fight or flight” response. A little stress every now and then is not cause for concern, but chronic stress is linked to a number of health problems.

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Medically Reviewed By: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS | Last Review Date:

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Medical References

  1. Stress and Your Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/stress-your-health.html. Accessed October 30, 2013.
  2. Stress and skin. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/stress-and-skin. Accessed October 30, 2013.
  3. FAQs About Stress. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/StressManagement/HowDoesStressAffectYou/FAQs-About-Stress_UCM_307982_Article.jsp. Accessed October 31, 2013.
  4. Stress. University of Maryland Medical Center. http://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/stress. Accessed October 31, 2013.
  5. Laugsand LE, et al. Insomnia and the risk of incident heart failure: a population study. Eur Heart J. 2013. March 5 (Epub ahead of print). http://eurheartj.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/02/28/eurheartj.eht019.abstract.
  6. Roth T. Insomnia: Definition, Prevalence, Etiology, and Consequences. J Clin Sleep Med. 2007 August 15; 3(5 Suppl):S7–S10.
  7. Exercise fuels the brain’s stress buffers. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/exercise-stress.aspx. Accessed November 4, 2013.

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