In the short term, stress can be advantageous, but chronic stress can be really lethal, causing heart attacks, stroke, irritable bowel syndrome and weight gain.
Dr. Sharon Horesh said, "When the body experiences stress for too long it can damage the body's organs and cells." In her Ted Ed video 'How stress affects the body', Dr. Horesh outlines the five ways a body can be affected by chronic stress, in addition to the more recognized ways such as acne, hair loss, sexual dysfunction, headaches, muscle tension, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.
The doctor suggested that the hormones cortisol and adrenaline are released in to the blood stream by the adrenaline gland when a person experiences a stress response. Adrenaline increases the heartbeat and blood pressure and in the long term can cause hypertension, while long term release of cortisol in the blood can lead to cholesterol plaque build-up in the arteries. Both of these issues can lead to an increased chance of a heart attack or stroke.
Dr. Horesh said, "Chronic stress can deplete the effectiveness of immune cells and increase the risk of infection. This can also slow down the rate that the body heals."