Many people are so worried over the fact that they cannot pay their bills that they are actually making themselves sick over it. Stress is a major contributor to any illness. Stress increases levels of the hormone cortisol, which can lead to or worsen heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer. Below are five ways that your debt may be making you sick:
1. Tossing and turning at night and losing sleep while thinking about your debt will cut levels of the appetite-regulating hormone leptin. Leptin levels tell the brain when the body does or doesn’t need more food. Low levels are associated with obesity. The outcome of sleep deprivation is weight gain.
2. Stress can also be a cause for excessive smoking and alcohol consumption which can deteriorate your health quickly. Smoking can cause a number of illnesses including cancer, heart attack, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This term is used generally and includes a number of lung destroying and respiratory illnesses, such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis that are brought on by smoking.
3. Stress is a large contributor to digestive and bowel problems. When you worry about your debt, your stomach can feel as if it is tied in knots. Stress affects digestion in many ways, and is implicated in Irritable Bowel Syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and ulcers.
4. If you are in debt for a long period of time, this can lead to depression and/or panic attacks. Depression is a serious medical condition. If you have changes in mood or behavior and/or thoughts of suicide these are severe warning signs and you should consult a physician immediately. Panic attacks can occur at any time and can cause your heart to beat excessively making you feel like you are going to pass out. You may also break out in a sweat and feel shaky. If you have these symptoms, consult a physician.
5. Stress can lead to bad nutritional choices and lack of exercise. If you do not eat well and exercise the resulting tiredness or physical exhaustion your body experiences causes a reduction in bacteria fighting antibodies, increasing your vulnerability to viruses and disease.
There is some stress that can actually be good for us. The right type and amount of stress gets the blood flowing and enhances your performance in certain circumstances such as a competitive sport, academic studies, project deadlines and physical and mental challenges. In fact, a lack of good stress in your life can lead to boredom causing a lack of opportunity for creative expression. So, the “right” amount of stress is performance enhancing and too much stress is performance reducing. Your debt and its potential to cause stress related illnesses is nothing to laugh at and prevention is a whole lot better than cure.