Researchers are still studying the link between anxiety and heart disease but at least one study shows that patients with anxiety disorder were 59% more likely to experience a heart attack than those who didn’t.
The abrupt changes in blood flow can also cause the development of high blood pressure and irregular heart rates like tachycardia (rapid heart rate). Inflammation also weakens the artery linings and makes it more prone to coronary plaque buildup.
Effects of Anxiety on Gastrointestinal Health
In order to promote circulation to the brain, the body actually redirects the blood flow from the lower organs, including the digestive tract. This puts a temporary halt on normal functions, which can result in problems like stomach ache and diarrhea.
It is thought that a gut-brain link exists, and that anxiety plays an important role in gastrointestinal issues.
This is because of how it affects gut bacteria and the production of stomach acids. This can lead to chronic problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and stomach ulcers.
Effects of Anxiety on The Musculoskeletal System
Nausea and acid reflux are stress responses you experience in the digestive tract, but the cause actually lies in muscle tension. This is also the same reason your hands might shake or your knees may buckle when you are feeling anxious.
Muscles tend to contract in an effort to minimize the injury and pain that may result from a stressful situation. After episodes caused by anxiety disorder, however, the muscles may fail to relax. Apart from lower back pain, this can also cause tension headaches and migraines.