How stress affects your body

Feel stress on a daily basis? Then you could be heading for hospital...

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We all know stress is bad for us - but what are the effects on the body? And, more importantly, what can we do to minimise it?

Being overworked and stressed plays havoc with your body.

See also: Carrying heavy shopping bad can make stress worse

See also: Five surprising things that can prematurely age your brain

Three hormones - adrenaline, noroadrenaline and coritisol - are all triggered by stress. These are important 'fight or flight' hormones' which are vital for getting you away from danger.

But trouble arises when your body releases these hormones on a daily basis.

Increased levels of cortisol, for example, can have a detrimental effect on the brain.

It can cause problems with memory, attention span, sleep amongst other things.

It can also affect the health of the heart and your blood quality, and can lead to major damage of the arteries.

Cortisol also affects the way you process sugar, which can lead to diabetes.

Your stomach and digestion is also affected: as part of the fight or flight response, cortisol stops paying attention to digestion. This can increase your chance of weight gain and obesity.

Chronic stress also causes premature grey hair.

And if all this hasn't convinced you to relax, bear in mind that stress will kill your sex drive too...