Mental Health Part 3 | How Mental Health Affects Physical Health
June 19, 2019 | Abigail Mckay

Mental Health Part 3 | How Mental Health Affects Physical Health

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It is widely debated by philosophical, religious, and biological experts alike the power of the mind-body connection.  The effect of stress on the body is the ideal illustration of the relationship between the mind and body.  When the body undergoes stress, the heart rate increases, a headache may develop, or perhaps even an upset stomach.  All of these symptoms come from not a physical ailment, but rather a disruption in the mental or emotional state.  So, what are the consequences stemming from turmoil in the mind?

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The imbalance between the mind and body can manifest as back pain, upset stomach, headache, high blood pressure, elevated heart rate, chest pain, shortness of breath, sleep disturbance, and weight loss or gain. These are just naming a few, as there is a multitude of consequences associated with poor mental health. Impaired immune function is another extensively researched symptom associated with a disturbance in the mind-body connection. Chronic stress, anxiety, or depression can lead to a persistent elevation of the stress hormone known as cortisol.  This hormone will decrease the number of lymphocytes circulating in the body.  Lymphocytes are cells that fight and destroy bacteria and viruses, and without an appropriate amount of these cells, there is a higher risk of infection.


The adverse effects that can be seen due to a disconnect between the mind and the body should motivate you to start taking the topic of mental health seriously.  With the help of a physician and through participating in positive mental health activities, there is hope despite the overwhelming feeling of helplessness associated with mental illness. Take care and take control of your mind to see the physical benefits that will come from mental strength and resilience.


Tomorrow will be the final piece of this series where suggestions regarding positive mental health activities will be presented.  Shifa4U is passionate about mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. Connect with a physician today on Shifa4U to discuss mental health concerns.

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Abigail Mckay

Abigail has been a nurse for five years, and throughout her time as a nurse, she has worked in multiple medical-surgical units as well as spent time in the infusion therapy clinic and endoscopy lab. She is passionate about preventative medicine through patient education regarding nutrition and exercise. Due to her passion, Abigail has gone on to earn two certifications including a certification in medical-surgical nursing (CMSRN) and a certification in holistic nursing (HNB-BC), in hopes of being able to better serve her patients. Abigail earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA and now bettering patient education in the healthcare system through partnering with American TelePhysicians.