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Raequan Pressley
ENG 111-192
November 17, 2015
Cause and Effect Essay
The Effects of Stress on the Body
Stress can affect the body in many ways both negative and positive. We sometimes believe
that stress only affects us mentally but it can affect us physically as well. Stress affects our
respiratory system, digestive system, nervous system and reproductive system, just to name a
few. Stress is our bodys way of dealing with difficult situations. Chronic stress can cause a
number of health problems. That is why you hear people say, Stress can kill you.
Our digestive system is affected in a number of ways. When we are stressed we tend to
change our eating habits. We may eat different types of foods in larger proportions or not have
the appetite to eat at all. Healthline.com states that our liver produces more glucose when
stressed to give us a boost of energy. The unused glucose is reabsorbed in the body. When this
happens and we are chronically stressed, our body may not be able to absorb this extra sugar and
could cause Type 2 diabetes. We may experience upset stomach or nausea and stress could affect
the way food moves through our bodies. This could also cause constipation or diarrhea. Our
eating habits could also affect our weight. Being overweight or even underweight could be a
result of stress eating or a lack thereof.
Also stress can have a major effect on our central nervous and endocrine systems. Our
(CNS) central nervous system is in charge of anxiety, depression, and irritability. When the

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perceived fear is gone, the central nervous system should tell all systems to go back to normal. It
has done its job. If the central system fails to return to normal, or if the stressor doesnt go away,
it takes a toll on your body. (Health line) Headaches and the inability to sleep are direct effects
of stress on our central nervous system. You may also suffer from depression and anxiety. Our
nervous system includes our brain and spinal cord. The function of these two things alone are
imperative for our bodies to function properly. When we are under stress, our bodies may go
into fight or flight mode. This is a way our bodies respond to a situation that we may consider
life or death. Our breathing rate is increased and our heart rate speeds up drastically. This can
cause issues with other parts of our bodies as well.
The reproductive system is important in men and women and when stressed can be effected.
The male reproductive system is influenced by the nervous system. Men experience erectile
dysfunction due to the nervous system not working properly. Chronic stress can cause men to
experience dysfunction, low sperm production and less testosterone. This can affect
relationships and self-esteem and cause even more stress. When the immune system is effected,
it can cause issues with the prostate and other male reproductive organs. Men can become more
susceptible to infections and diseases as well. Women are effected reproductively in ways also.
Women have changes in menstrual cycle when stressed. Stress can cause more painful cramps
and changes in the length of the cycle. Women can also have extreme premenstrual syndrome
symptoms. Mood swings, bloating and irritability nay be heightened when women are stressed.
As with anyone, stress can affect the immune system and cause infections.
The respiratory system is the system that is imperative when it comes to our breathing. Our
respiratory system needs to be functioning for us to live. People with asthma and emphysema
already have issues with breathing and stress can make it worse. Stress can trigger faster and

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harder breathing. For most people it would not be hard to deal with. But it is said that stress can
trigger asthma attacks, panic attacks, and hyperventilation in people with breathing problems
(APA). A person with issues breathing already would need to find a coping mechanism to be
able to deal with stressful situations. This would ensure that they would not have to deal with the
dysfunction of their respiratory system when they are stressed.
All of these things in our bodies work together and an excess amount of stress could cause us
to experience some difficulty with the functioning of our bodies. Our respiratory system,
cardiovascular system, nervous system and other body systems ensure that we live a long healthy
life when they are intact. This shows that stress can, in fact, kill you. If your body is not
functioning properly you run a risk of suffering from heart attacks, stroke, panic attacks,
headaches, lack of sleep and a number of other health issues. We must learn to cope with stress
in healthy ways even if that means talking to a psychologist and seeking professional help. Our
bodies can only take so much.

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Works Cited
Roberts, Cliff, et al. "The Effects of Stress on Body Weight: Biological and Psychological
Predictors of Change in BMI**." Obesity15.12 (2007): 3045-55. ProQuest. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.

Stress Effects on the Body. (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2015, from
http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress-body.aspx

Pietrangelo, A. (n.d.). 20 Effects of Stress on the Body. Retrieved November 17, 2015, from
http://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body