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It is unlikely that you need anyone explaining what stress is. (We do explain it below "just in case.")

Stress can be injurious to physical and psychological health, and can show up in various ways.

There are a wide variety of techniques available for stress management including communicating with other people, deep breathing, exercise, diet, writing, and getting rest and relaxation. Living with a pet can also help to relieve stress. 

For information, see:

What Is Stress?

Stress is a feeling of emotional tension. It is the triggering of the human "fight or flight" response to danger. Originally it came into play to give us the energy, drive and stamina to either run or fight when presented with a dangerous situation.

The "fight or flight" response includes:

  • An increase in heart rate and blood pressure in order to get more blood to the muscles, brain, and heart.
  • Faster breathing to take in more oxygen.
  • Tensing of muscles in preparation of action.
  • Increased mental alertness to assess a situation and act quickly.
  • Increases in blood sugar, fats and cholesterol to produce quick energy.
  • A rise in platelets and blood clotting factors to prevent excessive bleeding in the event of injury.

Today, more often than not, the "fight or flight" response is triggered in scenarios where neither fighting nor fleeing would be appropriate. You can't run from your diagnosis or the stressors that result from it.

Stress releases energy in the body that we don't always know how to respond to or what to do with. This can become problematic when the stress producing triggers are not short term events. If you experience ongoing stress as a result of your diagnosis, your body will continue to respond with the "fight or flight" response.

While this may all seem to be a bit daunting, the good news is that you can do something about your reaction to stressful events.

What Causes Stress?

Stress can be caused by a number of factors, both external and internal.

Injury, illness, pain or attack are examples of external stress.

Reaction to a diagnosis would be an example of internal stress. So are the stressors that come with a diagnosis such as frequent doctor visits, unfamiliar medical treatments, fear that your condition will worsen or perhaps make you disabled, continuing financial obligations, mounting medical bills, physical limitations as a result of illness, work pressures, and insurance issues.

What Are The Symptoms Of Stress?

Stress can show up in numerous ways. Symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle aches
  • Heart palpitations/chest pain
  • Abdominal cramps/nausea
  • Trembling/shaking
  • Confusion
  • Loss of memory/concentration
  • Nervousness
  • Depression
  • Fear
  • Worry/anxiety
  • Outbursts/irritability
  • Fidgeting/nervous habits

Talk with your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms, even if you think they are stress related and that your doctor can't do anything about them. Constant stress can have serious health consequences and is not something to ignore.