While it’s true that some stress in our lives is a good thing, everything should be in moderation. Too much stress can do much harm to not only our bodies but mental health as well. Even though your loved ones are currently in their retirement years and are not pressured with any work commitments and responsibilities, that does not mean they do not feel stress in their everyday lives. Frustrating and anxiety-ridden situations can increase the production of cortisol, which is the main stress hormone in our bodies. If your loved ones are above the age of 60, having high levels of cortisol will lead to various side effects. As such, here is how stress for the elderly affects their bodies.
Poor Sleep Patterns
Increased production of stress hormones can impede the brain from switching off in the evening, and this effect gradually worsens as people get older. Due to poor sleep patterns, your loved ones may suffer from insomnia the next day, causing more stress on the body. Therefore, you can see that this is a domino effect. For some elderly, they may even wake many times during their sleep, which leads to the brain and body not receiving enough rest to recharge properly.
However, there are ways to cure sleep deprivation. Activities such as taking a simple walk or partaking in regular aerobic exercises can reduce stress hormones and allow the body to wind down for the night.
Weakened Immune System
Whether old or young, stress weakens the immune system. It should be no secret that the immune system is of utmost importance, functioning as a protector for our body by fighting against harmful substances, germs, and bacteria. Since stress hormones can reduce the effectiveness of the immune system, this means that the body is more susceptible to colds, illnesses, and other infections. Considering that your loved ones may have a longer recovery time when sick, they should be more mindful to not be under stressful situations.
Increased Risk of Diabetes
Some people may turn to binge eating when they’re stressed, which leads to a higher chance of weight gain. What’s worse, comfort foods or beverages like chips and alcohol tend to be most preferred, though such a diet is high in saturated fat and sugars. This means that the risk of diabetes will no doubt increase. For your loved ones, it’s extremely crucial for them to pay attention to what they’re consuming and keep their weight in check. Research has also shown that stress hormones can prevent the pancreas from performing its duties, which is to produce insulin to control the blood sugar levels in the body. As such, high blood pressure is also a possibility.
General Body Pain
As we grow older, our bodies’ blood flow tends to slow down, increasing the risk of muscle tension and even stomach problems. As such, you’ll find that the elderly will be less energetic and restless when they’re stressed out. In addition, stress hormones can cause various gastrointestinal issues such as irritable bowel syndrome and constipation. Your loved ones may also complain of heartburn every once in a while. If this is the case, do encourage your loved ones to visit medical personnel who can prescribe the appropriate medicine.