How Anxiety Affects Your Physical Health

If you suffer from anxiety disorder, you know how miserable it makes you feel. So do about 40% of American women who have anxiety at some point in their lives and more than 1 in 4 men. Less known is the negative toll anxiety also takes on physical health.

If you struggle with anxiety – especially if it’s chronic – you already know how miserable it makes you feel. But you may not know how it can also affect your physical health.

You can have many physical symptoms related to anxiety, but you may not even know that they’re actually related. Some of the physical symptoms related to anxiety may surprise you. The providers at Nurocoach explain how anxiety affects your physical health.

What is anxiety?

Most people have moments in which they feel anxious. But for others, they experience anxiety or even panic attacks on a frequent basis. In fact, black people, those living in poverty, people who have lost partners and those who have other mental health issues are among adults who face higher risks for developing anxiety, which can manifest as panic attacks, phobias or feeling always on edge. Also, about 1 in 10 pregnant and postpartum women experience anxiety.

Some anxiety symptoms may include:

  • Feeling nervous or tense
  • Sensing impending doom or panic
  • Worrying about many things
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Avoiding certain circumstances that may trigger anxiety

When you have an anxiety disorder, these and other symptoms interfere significantly with your daily life.

Some of the physical symptoms of anxiety

When you have anxiety, it can sometimes manifest as other symptoms affecting your physical health. These include:

Sleep disturbances

You may have trouble sleeping if you have anxiety. You may have insomnia or may wake up frequently throughout the night.

Chest pain

In many cases, chest pain is often a symptom of a panic attack. In addition, anxiety links to heart disease, so always seek medical attention if you have these symptoms to be sure you are healthy.

Dizziness or chills

You may feel dizzy or even get the chills if you’re having an anxiety attack. You can feel disoriented and may feel like you’re about to pass out.

Upset stomach

Many people with anxiety have stomach problems, including frequent stomach pains. You may be incorrectly diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome instead, when actually it can mean that you have chronic anxiety.

Breathing difficulties

You may have trouble breathing when you have anxiety. You may hyperventilate, breathe faster, or have difficulty catching your breath. Often, this becomes a self-perpetuating cycle: the more trouble you have breathing, the more panicked you may become, which in turn, leads to more breathing difficulties.

Muscle tension

If you have frequent anxiety attacks, your muscles may tense up without you knowing it, leading to other symptoms, including headaches and jaw pain.

Long-term consequences of anxiety

Anxiety doesn’t just have short-term physical consequences. It can also have long-term effects. When you’re anxious, your body produces more cortisol, also known as the “fight or flight” chemical. Being in a constant state of fight or flight has damaging effects on your long-term health.

In general, circumstances like anxiety are linked to poorer health outcomes. People with anxiety are more likely to have heart disease and stroke, so seeking treatment is critical. You can learn to effectively manage your anxiety symptoms and prevent the long-term consequences to your health.

Screening test alone is not sufficient to diagnose anxiety. The next step is a more thorough evaluation by a mental health professional and finding mental health care can be difficult given shortages of specialists.

If you suspect you have anxiety, don’t hesitate to Contact the providers at Nurocoach who have availability within 48 hours. You canrequest an appointment online.