Allergies. Research suggests that stress, not indoor pollutants, may actually be a cause of the so-called sick-building syndrome, which produces allergy-like symptoms, such as Eczema, headaches, Asthma, and sinus problems, in office workers.
Skin Disorders. Stress plays a role in exacerbating a number of skin conditions, including hives, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, and Eczema. Unexplained itching may also be caused by stress.
Unexplained Hair Loss (Alopecia areata). Alopecia areata is hair loss that occurs in localized (or discrete) patches. The cause is unknown but stress is suspected as a player in this condition. For example, hair loss often occurs during periods of intense stress, such as mourning.
Teeth and Gums. Stress has now been implicated in increasing the risk for periodontal disease, which is disease in the gums that can cause tooth loss.
People under chronic stress frequently seek relief through drug or alcohol abuse, tobacco use, abnormal eating patterns, or passive activities, such as watching television. The damage these self-destructive habits cause under ordinary circumstances is compounded by the physiologic effects of stress itself. And the cycle is self-perpetuating; a sedentary routine, an unhealthy diet, alcohol abuse, and smoking promote Heart disease, interfere with sleep patterns, and lead to increased rather than reduced tension levels. Drinking four or five cups of coffee, for example, can cause changes in blood pressure and stress hormone levels similar to those produced by chronic stress. Animal fats, simple sugars, and salt are known contributors to health problems.
Revision date: July 3, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD