Stress Related Diseases

Stress is not a disease in itself; however, many try to make it into one. Stress Related Diseases is what can follow long term exposure to stress in your life - so only if you know you have had stress in your life for some time (usually 6 moths to 2 years).

The related diseases are the final consequence of a life filled with large amounts of stress. This is not to say that if you have stress; you get sick! It doesn't work that way fortunately.

Stress is a complex thing and what stresses one out might not affect others at all. Nowadays you hear everywhere that stress is huge problem, but it seems that no one can actually see "the truth" when it comes to the stress related diseases.

This is because it is so difficult to pinpoint socalled cause-effect relationships when it comes to stress. It is basically accepted, that stress causes cardiovascular diseases (such as coronary heart disease) but if a patient had a "bad heart" to start with? Who can say what caused what...

We have to settle with more abstract terms when we talk stress because cause-effect relations are difficult to spot
With that said - there are definitely some illnesses that are associated with stress. But again, it is after the long term stress they happen. If you are just feeling "very busy" in a week or some days, you probably have nothing to worry about!!
As always: If you have any doubt, please see you doctor.
The long term stress creates a deprived state (a state of low resources) in your body, which leads to for example lower immune system, heart stress, worsening of chronic diseases and several physical, mental and behavior effects. It is the constant over-production of cortisol and adrenalin and other stress hormones that drains your body and can eventually lead to a total breakdown.

The Most Common Stress Related Diseases

Among the diseases normally associated with stress is:
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Infections
  • Depression
  • Worsening of chronic diseases
  • Sleep disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Abuse
  • Accident
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • Ulcers and cancer (disputed)
Phew! That is a long list! - And it also shows how big an impact stress can have in our lives. Learn more about how the stress related diseases and stress affects us here.

Cardiovascular Diseases

There is a strong connection between long term exposure to stress and the development of cardiovascular diseases. The stress causes the heart to beat faster and harder and living with constant increased heart rate and blood pressure is very unhealthy.


Stress increases the chance of infections. This is mainly because of the depreciation of the immune system, but can also well be due to change in lifestyle; for example if you start stress eating or chain smoking when you are stressed.

Worsening of Chronic Illnesses

The same argument goes here as for the increased risk of infection! If your body is stressed and has its resources drained, it becomes increasingly difficult for it to keep a chronic illness at bay.

Patients with Chronic Obstructive Lung Syndrome report a worsening when stressed because it makes breathing shallower.


Typically associated with long term psychological stress; depression is one of the very common stress related diseases. The connection may be due to the stress hormones effect on our brain's receptors which affects the development of a depression.

The early signs are general lack of energy, motivation and pleasure in your life.

Bad Sleep

The sad thing about sleep... or the lack of sleep is that it is one of the best, natural remedies for stress. But if stress has taken over your life it can be very had to get into a healthy sleep pattern again. Stress robs you of sleep by making your thoughts speed up instead of slowing down when you are about to fall asleep.

So sleep works in both ways and can be an indicator of stress as well as your actual stressor.

Stress Chest Pain

Although not a disease in itself; stress chest pain is something many are worried about, especially men. Though the pain can be scary, in many cases it is harmless, deferred pain from your back known as facet syndrome - your doctor can tell you more about it ;)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

This is a very serious condition triggered by extreme stress or very violent past experiences. It can cause total breakdown and needs to be treated by professionals. Often PTSD is seen in association with acute stress disorder, where a sudden stressful event causes a severe response physically and mentally.

Increased Number os Accidents

Stressed people have more accidents. This can be due to many things, most notably the lack of regular, good sleep. Being in a deprived state causes you to lose motion control and sense of direction which can lead to accidents.

This may well also be the reason for Musculoskeletal Disorders: Although the actual reason is unknown, stressed people have more physical pain, such as muscle pain from cramps or constant tension.

Ulcers and Cancer

Although nothing has been proven to connect the 2 with stress, they may well be considered stress related diseases in the near future. I will keep you updated on these pages with scientific progress!!