Women and Stress-related Illnesses

Money, weight and family tops the list of what stresses out women. One in four women say they feel stressed out every day, and while it’s not considered an illness, it can set you up for one.

“When I wake up in the morning, it’s almost like I get hit with a blackboard of a list of the things that I have to do for the day, and everything has to be completed,” says Lisa Baker.

Baker is a woman on the go. She runs her own business, takes care of her family, and, at the end of the day, she has little time left for herself. “I am constantly being pulled in more directions than you can imagine,” she says.

Baker is one of the 50 million American women living with so-called “Hurried Woman Syndrome.” The syndrome is linked to fatigue, mood swings, and weight gain. Studies show 43 percent of adults suffer from stress-related illnesses.

“I see women all the time that come in stressed out,” says Jane Sadler, M.D., a family practitioner at Baylor Family Medicine in Garland, Texas.

According to Dr. Sadler, when the body detects stress, it begins to release hormones that increase heart rate and blood pressure, putting people at risk for heart attacks and strokes as their immune system decreases.

“People with low immunity may be more at risk for autoimmune disease such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or infections,” Dr. Sadler says.

How should patients deal with their stress? Dr. Sadler says drinking alcohol, denying the problem, and overeating or smoking won’t help anything. Instead, she advises patients to gain control of their lives by organizing their week and setting daily priorities. Remember — your health comes first.

Baker deals with her stress by working out regularly.

“I have to physically exercise at least 4 times a week,” she says. ” If I don’t I, I don’t feel that I am good to be around.”

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, which offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, click on: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.

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