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7 Ways Depression Is Affecting Your Physical Health

7 Ways Depression Is Affecting Your Physical Health

From insomnia to oversleeping, weight gain to weight loss without any reason, there could be a number of negative repercussions of this mental health condition.

Life is an ebb and flow of happiness and sadness. If you feel sad for more than two weeks or more, then you could be depressed. And women are twice as likely to experience depression than men? There are many reasons why that happens - like hormonal changes, biological factors, inherited traits, and personal life circumstances, and experiences. According to Mental Health America, as many as 12 million women in the United States experience clinical depression annually and one in eight women can have clinical depression in their lifetime. It is also more prevalent in women between the age of 25 to 44. Women are also more prone to depression since a lot of hormonal changes take place in our bodies through puberty, pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause. 

It is a serious mental health condition and requires attention because it also affects your physical health and body. Here are some ways depression is affecting your physical health: 

1. Excessive fatigue

The severity with which depression affects everyone can be different but tiredness is something that can occur to men and women. You feel that you walk slowly or talk slowly. Even your thoughts could be slower and navigating through the sluggishness can be very frustrating if you have multiple responsibilities at work and at home. 

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2. Constricted blood vessels

Depression can lead to your blood vessels constricting and that leads to higher chances of cardiovascular diseases, says Healthline. For women who have heart disease, mental stress and depression affect the heart circulation more than men, which can prove fatal in the long run, according to Science Daily

3. Sleep-related issues

Depression can have a deep impact on your general wellbeing and how you perceive yourself. With multiple worries and negative thoughts, people generally get stuck in a loop of anxiety, emptiness, hopelessness, and helplessness. And all of that contributes towards not being able to sleep properly. You're either having difficulty sleeping or wake up too early with too little sleep or are oversleeping, says Web MD

4. Aches in the body

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This mental health condition can lead to aches, pains, or cramps that have no physical reason and even when you treat it the aches don't go away, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It is important to seek professional help if you have any of these symptoms since it can be very confusing and frustrating to deal with them on your own. Depression is serious and deserves medical attention. Nobody can just "snap out of it". 

5. Digestive problems

The brain and the gastrointestinal tract are linked. Your gut gets affected by emotions like anger, anxiety, sadness, elation. The brain affects your stomach and intestines directly while the intestine also affects your brain. The digestive problems you face can be the result of anxiety, stress, or depression, says Harvard Health

6. Weakened immune system 

Depression makes it harder for your body to fight infection to such an extent that some vaccinations like the shingles vaccine could have less effect on older adults with the mental health condition. It can also make existing illnesses worse. Some of the other effects of depression like insomnia and digestive problems can also be responsible for a less effective immune system, according to Web MD.

7. Weight fluctuation

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Since everyone copes differently you could either be gaining weight or losing it as your appetite also fluctuates. Some individuals lean on food to deal with the emptiness and hopelessness that depression brings, which can lead to obesity, while others can lose their appetite and eat less, which in turn can create nutritional deficiencies, said Healthline. 

References: 

https://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/depression-women

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression-in-women/index.shtml

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171221101344.htm

https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-women#1

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/effects-on-body#2

https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-gut-brain-connection

https://www.webmd.com/depression/how-depression-affects-your-body#1

Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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