Serious Illness Caused by Stress

We’ve all either said it, or heard someone saying it; “It’s nothing, I’m just stressed.”

‘Just’ downplays how serious stress can be, and what can happen to your body if you don’t sort your stress out. Stress comes in multiple forms; its can be short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic). In saying this, however, there are also forms of positive stress.

What is Stress?

Stress is your body’s natural reaction to situations or your thoughts about them. It was what kept our more primitive ancestors alive; by having a fight or flight reaction to danger, they were able to either defend themselves, or run away. Our bodies still have these natural impulses, although in the case of chronic stress, the reaction is a constant, resulting in a negative impact on our bodies.

Physical Effects of Stress

According to your genes, you may naturally inherit certain lifestyle diseases. While you can identify these diseases with a DNA test, and possibly prevent them from materialising, stress may exacerbate the underlying issues and worsen them.  


Chronic stress can have serious negative effects on your heart. Higher than average levels of chronic stress can cause inflammation of the heart muscle, which may cause issues like high blood pressure, and eventually, a heart attack. Stress also causes issues like emotional eating, depression (which will cause you to be less active) and substance use and abuse; these are all factors which can contribute to heart disease.

High Blood Sugar

Extreme, prolonged stress can cause a spike in your blood sugar because your body may respond to the stress by producing more sugar to give you energy so that you can deal with the stress. This means more glucose is available in your blood stream, and you’ll have higher blood sugar levels. Consistent high blood sugar levels may even result in the development of diabetes.

Finding out whether you have these genetically inherited conditions can be the first step on your path to wellness. Many lifestyle diseases, although hereditary, can be avoided with a good diet and healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle will also, coincidentally, encourage less stress.

Stress can be managed with exercise and easy feel-good activities, and it can be treated with certain prescription drugs if necessary. 

For more information on DNA testing for diseases, contact our experts.