Stress Can Weaken our Cardiovascular System
Stress can weaken our cardiovascular system in two ways--by increasing heart rate and by increasing blood pressure. In more extreme cases and especially for people with cardiovascular disease, increased beating can cause damage to the heart. Many people experience a small change in blood pressure during stressful times. When this happens to a greater extreme, it can be very dangerous. Often, people who have extreme changes in blood pressure due to stress have other physical problems that aggravate their blood pressure as well.
Stress Can Weaken the Immune System
Stress weakens the immune system. Many stressors have been found to decrease the amount of cells in the blood that fight infection. For instance, some of the chemicals described in How Stress Affects Our Bodies, decrease the amount of cells in the blood that fight infection.
When our immunities are weakened, we are more susceptible to illnesses like the common cold, flu, and perhaps even more serious illnesses.
Stress is Associated with Anxiety & Depression
Stress makes us feel bad. In extreme cases, when stress is overwhelming, it can make us feel even worse. When this happens, people may become clinically depressedor anxious. One way to view this process is through a concept called learned helplessness.