Stress may come from many ways and forms. It can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). It can be triggered by common everyday events such as exams or a big presentation at work, or a traumatic life event such as a death in the family. Sometimes it can even be triggered by nothing obvious at all, you may even be stressed without even realising it.

Most people dismiss stress as nothing serious. However constant exposure to overwhelming stress may lead to serious health problems such as the following:


1. Heart disease

A seriously stressful situation will cause your heart rate to speed up. You breathe faster, your muscles tense up and your hands may get sweaty. This is your body’s natural fight or flight response to stress, a result of the release of stress hormones - cortisol and adrenaline in your body. But what about chronic stress and the long term effects it may have on your heart?

While no connection has yet to be scientifically proven at the moment, initial studies do suggest that chronic stress, together with an unhealthy level of stress hormones may contribute to inflammation of the heart muscle, a factor in heart disease. This may also cause changes in the way your blood clots, which can increase your risk of heart attack. Stress can also cause a spike in blood pressure, making you eat more, smoke or skip exercising, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.

2. Mental illness

One may wonder if stress can cause mental illnesses? Neuroscience research have shown that the regulation of human psychological stress is related to the operation of brain nerve cells. Stress reduces the production of brain neurons, especially those in the hippocampus which usually requires higher energy to be produced. Therefore, the imbalance of pressure regulation would result in the brain nerve cells to function abnormally, this directly affects our behaviour.

3. Diabetes

When we are stressed, our body will release adrenaline, cortisol and other stress hormones. These hormones stimulate the secretion of insulin which will turn the sugar in our body into energy for us to deal with the stressful situations. However, when we are under constant high pressure, the body will constantly secrete insulin and eventually the body will reach a state of "elastic fatigue" and results in insulin resistance, thereby increasing the risk of diabetes.

4. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Our intestines are more sensitive to stress than other organs. Long-term emotional stress can lead to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Patients suffering from IBS usually have constipation and diarrhoea. This is because the brain and intestines can influence each other through nerves, endocrine and immunity. While we may not be able to control the physiological reactions caused by emotions, we can reduce the occurrence of irritable bowel syndrome by reducing stress in our life.

5. Immune dysfunction

When the human body is facing stress, the adrenal cortex secretes "cortisol", which uses a lot of energy to increase the body's metabolic rate in an attempt to fight stressful events, which then reduces the number of lymphocytes in the immune system. Long-term stress which is not relieved may lead to immune dysfunction and reduces the body's resistance to bacteria and viruses, and in turn increases the likelihood of falling sick.

You may like to consider:

LABO Nutrition AdaptWell

AdaptWell is an all-natural, potent adrenal support, formulated to help you cope with emotional distress and physical and mental fatigue. It comprises two powerful adaptogens – Ashwagandha extract and Rhodiola rosea extract, which are thoughtfully curated for their powerful healing properties. Their synergistic effects help to strengthen your body’s natural resistance and adaptation to stress; enabling you to cope well and radiate vigour and vitality.

Ashwagandha, also known as the “Indian ginseng” or Withania somnifera, is a herb that is native to Asia and Africa. It is classified as an adaptogen, a natural substance that helps the body better adapt to and manage stress by reducing adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Besides stress, Ashwagandha is also commonly used to fight symptoms of anxiety and depression, increase energy levels, improve concentration and manage blood sugar levels.

Rhodiola or scientifically, Rhodiola rosea, is commonly called the ‘arctic root’ or ‘golden root’. Rhodiola extracts may protect cells against damage, help regulate heartbeat and memory improvement. It is an adaptogen which helps the body adapt and cope with physical, chemical and environmental stress.