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Does stress really cause death?

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2023 | Wrongful Death

Contrary to what you’ve heard, stress is not always a bad thing. Instead, stress serves as the body’s natural reaction to challenging, new or potentially dangerous situations. However, many New York employees continue to wonder if stress, including work-related stress, can lead to death.

How does stress affect the human body?

When you deal with stress, each part of your body feels the consequences. According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, short-term stress affects each of the body’s systems. This includes:

  • Respiratory (rapid or shallow breathing)
  • Cardiovascular (increased heart rate or higher blood pressure)
  • Musculoskeletal (increased muscle tension)
  • Endocrine, nervous, reproductive, endocrine (release of stress hormones, fight-or-flight response)

Based on your body’s natural design, these responses should ebb and flow. When these responses fail to lessen, overstimulation of your body’s stress response systems allows diseases to occur.

Diseases brought about by stress

Some experts agree that short-term stress can improve the response of your immune system. However, long-term stress puts undue strain on the immune system and changes the structure of the brain. Other diseases brought about by long-term stress include:

  • Digestive disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Memory disorders
  • Heart disease and cardiac dysfunction
  • Cancer (especially breast cancer)
  • Diabetes

Does stress cause death?

Psychologists agree that stress is a silent killer, as it is directly associated with the six leading causes of death among Americans. A study published in 2021 showed that physical and mental stress can lead to sudden cardiac death (SCD). SCD and other health-related issues makes stress a leading cause of work-related deaths in the US.

The presence of stress is not a bad thing, as it’s your body’s way of telling you that you’re facing a new or potentially dangerous situation. However, if stress goes unchecked for too long, it can have catastrophic consequences.


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