Comprehensive. Convenient. Compassionate.
A Division of Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center
Comprehensive. Convenient. Compassionate.
A Division of Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center

April is Stress Awareness Month: How Stress Affects Your Health

Apr 13, 2016

how stress affects health

Many people don’t realize it, but stress can have significant effects on your mood, your behavior and your health. With April being Stress Awareness Month, it’s important to understand how stress affects your body, and what you can do to alleviate that stress to avoid negative health effects.

What is stress?

Stress is the body’s reaction to an outside stimulus. It can manifest itself with both physical and emotional symptoms. When you feel threatened, your nervous system responds by releasing chemicals and stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline. This in itself is not harmful; the problem begins when your body is in a constant state of high-alert without any relaxation, even when the triggering event or danger has subsided.

Ways that stress affects the body

Whether it’s a short-term frustration like a traffic jam, or a major life event like a divorce or job loss, stress can take a toll on our bodies. Though occasional tension is a normal part of life, chronic stress affects your health in more ways that you think.

Digestion issues

Heartburn, stomach cramping, and diarrhea can all be caused or worsened by stress. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) due to excessive stress is commonly diagnosed.

Decreased immunity

People exposed to common cold viruses are less likely to fight off the germs successfully if they have ongoing stress in their lives. Studies have revealed that cells may be less sensitive to a hormone that reduces inflammation, which suggests why stress can be associated with more serious conditions.


The release of the hormone cortisol during times of stress has been linked to cravings for high-sugar and high-fat foods. Know your trigger foods, and stock up on healthy snacks to combat cravings during stressful moments.

Weight gain

There is a strong link between weight gain and stress, due to overeating and the secretion of cortisol. High levels of cortisol have been specifically linked to belly fat. It can also enlarge fat cells and increase the amount produced.

Sleep disorders

Stress can cause hyperarousal (where people are unable to feel sleepy), which leads to insomnia. Try to make your bedroom environment more conducive to sleep by keeping the temperature at 68 degrees, shutting off all “screen time” an hour before bed, and using black-out shutters.

High blood pressure

Elevated blood pressure is another symptom of stress. Tension temporarily constricts your blood vessels and speeds up your heart rate. Once you have managed your stress, this will usually subside.

Back pain

Stress can set off an acute attack of back pain –– and contribute to ongoing chronic pain –– as a result of the “fight-or-flight” response that tenses your muscles.

If you’re concerned about your stress levels, the physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers can help. Call today at 909-630-7888 to schedule an appointment.

PVHC Locations
From Chino Hills to La Verne

With five locations across Southern California, your best care is closer than you think.
Find a Location Near You.

A Leading Medical Group in Southern California

Explore our PVHC Locations

From Chino Hills to La Verne– we’re here to provide compassionate and expert care for your entire family. With five medical clinics throughout Southern California, your best care is closer than you think.


1770 North Orange Grove Avenue, Suite 101
Pomona, CA 91767
909-469-9494More Information >
Exterior photo of PVHC Chino Hills

Chino Hills

2140 Grand Avenue, Suite 125
Chino Hills, CA 91709
909-630-7875More Information >
Exterior photo of PVHC Chino Hills

Chino Hills Crossroads

3110 Chino Avenue, Suite 150
Chino Hills, CA 91709
909-630-7490More Information >
Exterior photo of PVHC Chino Hills Crossroads


1601 Monte Vista Avenue, Suite 100
Claremont, CA 91711
909-630-7938More Information >
Exterior photo of PVHC Claremont

La Verne

2333 Foothill Blvd. 
La Verne, CA 91750
909-392-6501More Information >
Photo of PVHC La Verne Location

What Our Patients Are Saying

The staff was extremely helpful and courteous, and the facility was clean and comfortable. An overall wonderful experience.

- Jane
I came in for a shoulder injury and was seen right away. The staff was just awesome.
- Megan
My son and I go to PVHC because we really like the care we receive. Even though we live about an hour away, we still prefer this facility over any other.
- Bridgette

Request Your Appointment Today

Call 909-630-7829
Or Use Our Easy Online Request Form
Find Us Online
Need help? Want to schedule an appointment? Call us at (909) 630-7829.
Copyright© 2024 PVHC - All Rights Reserved | Website by Healthcare Success