We all worry from time to time. But if you can’t shake it after a few weeks or it starts to get in the way of your normal work or home life, talk to your doctor. It can take a toll on your health and might be linked to an anxiety disorder. Therapy, drugs, and other strategies can help.
- Nervous system
This messaging network is made up of your brain, spinal cord, nerves, and special cells called neurons. Worrying too much can trigger it to release “stress hormones” that speed up your heart rate and breathing, raise your blood sugar, and send more blood to your arms and legs. Over time, thin can affect your heart, blood vessels, muscles, and other systems.
When you’re troubled about something, the muscles in your shoulder and neck can tense up. This can lead to migraines or tension headaches. A body massage or relaxation techniques, like deep breathing and yoga, may help.
If you’re worried a lot, you might breathe more deeply or more often without realising it. While this usually isn’t a big deal, it can be serious if you already have breathing problems linked to asthma, lung disease, or other conditions.
If it sticks around long enough, but something as small as a nagging concern in the back of your mind can affect your heart. It can make you more likely to have high blood pressure, a heart attack or a stroke. Higher levels of anxiety can trigger those stress hormones that make your heart beat faster and harder. If that happens over and over, your blood vessels may get inflamed, which can lead to hardened artery walls, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and other problems.
- Blood sugar
When you’re worried about something, stress hormones also give you a burst of fuel (in the form of blood sugar). This can be a good thing if you need to run from danger, but what happens if you don’t use that fuel? Your body normally stores it to use later. But, sometimes, if you’re overweight or afflicted with diabetes, for example, your blood sugar can stay too high for too long. This can lead to heart disease, strokes or kidney disease.