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11 Diseases Caused By Stress

Someone has rightly said, “Stress can ruin your everyday.” When we are overburdened with stress, we get encountered with lots of diseases. Let us read further and know about some of the diseases that are caused by stress.

11 Diseases Caused By Stress

11 Diseases Caused By Stress

Stress is invisible and nearly immeasurable but can cause a lot of diseases. It affects many people everywhere in the world. Researchers say that stress plays a crucial part in up to 75% to 90% of diseases in humans.(1) In a study that surveyed more than 200 physicians, it was found that about 25% to 30% of them reported high chronic stress.(2) Below are some diseases that can be caused by stress:

  1. Heart Diseases

    It has been suspected for a long by researchers that those with a stressed-out type A personality have a higher risk of high blood pressure and also several heart issues. However, the exact cause is still unknown. Stress can increase the heart rate and blood flow directly, and result in the release of cholesterol and triglycerides into your bloodstream.

    A meta-analysis that was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health found that there was a 50% increased risk of cardiovascular disease linked to an extreme level of work stress.(3)

    It is also believed that stress can be related to other health problems like obesity and that can indirectly increase the risk of heart diseases. It is known that sudden emotional stress can trigger certain serious cardiac issues like heart attacks. Individuals having chronic heart problems must avoid acute stress and learn ways to manage things in their life without being stressed out.

  2. Depression and Other Mental Illnesses

    Depression and some other mental illnesses can be caused due to extreme stress. As per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the exact cause of why certain individuals experience severe depression and anxiety and why others are not as severely affected is still unknown.

    A lot of things, including environmental, genetic, and psychological factors and also major stressful and traumatic events of the past. According to data published in JAMA, About 20% to 25% of persons experiencing major stressful events are likely to develop depression.

  3. Insomnia

    Another disease caused by stress is insomnia. An informal APA survey conducted in 2013 found that there are links between stress and sleep.(4) It was found that 43% of around 2, 000 adults who were surveyed reported that stress had resulted in them remaining awake at night, at least once in the past month (the month before the survey) So, stress can also cause insomnia or reduced level of stress.

  4. Asthma

    Stress can also contribute to asthma. A lot of studies have shown that stress can worsen the symptoms of asthma. It has been suggested by certain evidence that the chronic stress of a parent might even increase the risk of developing asthma in the case of their children.

  5. Chronic Pain

    Certain conditions of chronic pain like lower back pain can be caused or triggered when the body muscles are tensed up. Many chronic lower back pains are associated with stress. According to a review published in the year 2017 that examined the overlaps between chronic stress and chronic pain, it was found that both these conditions can trigger similar responses in the brain, especially in the amygdala and hippocampus.(5) It was also noted by the researchers that because of the different ways in which human beings experience chronic pain and stress, these two conditions do not overlap always.

  6. Diabetes

    Stress can worsen the condition of diabetes in two ways. First, it increases the likeliness of bad behaviors, like unhealthy eating and too much drinking. Second, stress directly causes an increase in the glucose levels of people suffering from type 2 diabetes directly.

  7. Gastrointestinal Disease

    Stress can also cause gastrointestinal diseases. Some of these diseases are inflammatory bowel conditions, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroesophageal reflux, diarrhea, constipation, and discomfort. All these conditions can be impacted by stress. Research also supports this.(6)

  8. Obesity

    Individuals with a high level of stress seem to store fat more in the belly, which poses greater health risks than fat on your hips or legs. Stress produces higher levels of the cortisol hormone that seems to increase the fat content that gets deposited in the abdomen. So, stress can also lead to obesity.

  9. Migraine and Headaches

    Our bodies react to different stressful events by releasing chemicals that can cause physical changes in the blood vessels. This can cause migraine and severe headaches.

  10. Common Cold

    Stress can also weaken the functioning of our immune system, which can make us more susceptible to infectious diseases, such as the common cold.

    Experiments were conducted by researchers that included 420 volunteers who were exposed to the common cold virus and then were quarantined to see if they became sick. The result published in The New England Journal of Medicine revealed that participants who experienced greater stress were indeed more likely to get infected with a virus after they were exposed to the cold virus.(7)

  11. Premature Death

    Stress can also result in premature death. According to a study it was found that elderly caregivers who were looking after their spouses and were dealing with a great amount of stress had a 63% higher rate of death than those of their age who were not caregivers.

What To Do To Reduce Stress?

  • Practice some relaxation techniques like meditation and deep breathing.
  • Do something which you like, say you can go for painting if you love or can go for gardening if that excites you.
  • Make sure you exercise every day since it helps in lowering stress hormones. You can enjoy swimming, running, dancing, yoga, or anything else.
  • Express your feeling, maybe by writing your thoughts or by recording your words, or even by talking to someone who cares for you.


It is indeed that there is an association between stress and diseases. However, the susceptibility to stress differs from one person to other. A specific event that causes a disease in one person might not cause illness in the other person.(8)

Each one of us needs to note down what is causing stress in us and how stress is affecting us. Accordingly, we can take steps to reduce the stress and also diseases caused by it.


Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 15, 2022

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