Regional Medical Center of San Jose
Regional Medical Center of San Jose offers world-class healthcare to residents throughout the greater San Jose community.

Identifying the different types of stress that can affect your health

Humans evolved with a “fight or flight” stress response that enabled them to survive life-threatening dangers. But in today’s modern world, constant exposure to stressors and poor stress coping skills can cause serious health issues, including heart health problems. If you’re concerned about your daily stress, consider talking to one of the compassionate healthcare providers at Regional Medical Center of San Jose.

Short-term stress

Also known as acute stress, short-term stress occurs in response to situations that you anticipate to happen soon or that recently happened. For instance, you may experience short-term stress from the following situations:

  • Giving a public speech
  • Getting into a car accident
  • Realizing you overslept and are late for work

Short-term stress isn’t necessarily harmful in small amounts, but significant short-term stress can affect your physical and emotional health. It may lead to mood changes, such as irritability, anger and anxiety. It can also cause the following:

  • Tension headaches
  • Jaw pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

You may already be familiar with the “butterflies in the stomach” sensation that short-term stress can cause. It can also result in other temporary changes, such as sweaty palms, rapid heartbeat and heart palpitations.

Recurrent short-term stress

Short-term stress may be temporary for some people, but others live their lives going from one crisis to the next. People with recurrent short-term stress may constantly feel that they are running late, and are disorganized and overscheduled. These individuals typically have a “Type A” personality that makes them strive for perfection, yet berate themselves when they fall short of their own expectations.

Recurrent short-term stress often goes hand-in-hand with catastrophizing. Catastrophizing is a term some psychologists use to describe people who make mountains out of molehills. In other words, they interpret every situation as disastrous.

Over time, recurrent short-term stress may increase the risk of the following health problems:

  • Migraines
  • Persistent tension headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Chest pain
  • Heart disease

Chronic stress

Long-term or chronic stress is the unrelenting stress that seems to be so deeply ingrained in a person’s life that it’s hard to find a way out of it. People can grow so accustomed to chronic stress that it seems to be just another inevitable part of life. Chronic stress may develop from the following situations:

  • Poverty
  • Dysfunctional families
  • Childhood trauma
  • Geopolitical instability/war

Chronic stress can contribute to life-threatening health problems if left untreated, including heart attack, stroke and suicide.

Regional Medical Center of San Jose is a trusted provider of superior medical care. We understand that a hospital visit for emergency care, robotic surgery or heart procedures can be stressful, which is why we offer premier patient support services and amenities. Call a registered nurse in San Jose at (888) 762-8881.


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