How private blood tests can show what stress doing to your body?

Stress affects us all. Even the calmest and most collected person will feel it from time to time. Whether your trigger is finances, negative news, work deadlines, children, exams, work, or a combination of some or all of these things, everyone has something that causes the blood pressure to rise.

A little stress can actually be helpful. It motivates us to act and comes from a primal survival ‘fight or flight’ response designed to protect us. But longer term, stress causes much more harm than good.

The first step to managing stress is to know the symptoms. But recognising stress symptoms can be hard. Most of us are so used to being stressed, we often don't know realise we are until we reach breaking point.

For Stress Awareness Week, we’re taking a look at the impact stress has on the body and what to look out for.

What is Stress

"With GP waiting times increasing in many practices, and appointments for non-urgent care more difficult to access, private blood testing is becoming a common alternative for many people looking to take control of their health.”

Firstly, what Is stress?

Stress is the body's reaction to harmful situations. Whether they’re real or perceived, when you feel threatened, a chemical reaction occurs in your body that allows you to act in a way to prevent injury.

During the stress response, your heart rate increases, you breathe faster, your muscles tighten, and blood pressure rises.

What causes stress in one person may have little effect on another. Some people are naturally better at handling stress than others.

A little stress can actually be a good thing. It can help you accomplish tasks and stop you getting hurt. Our bodies are designed to handle small amounts of stress But, we are not made to handle long-term, chronic stress and when we experience that, it usually leads to poor health.

What are the symptoms of Stress?

Stress has wide-reaching effects on your body and your brain, your moods, and emotions and how you behave.

Physical symptoms of stress 

  • Aches, pains, and tense muscles
  • Chest pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Frequent colds and infections
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Low energy

Mental symptoms of stress 

  • Being pessimistic
  • Constant worrying
  • Forgetfulness and disorganisation
  • Inability to focus
  • Poor judgment
  • Racing thoughts

Emotional symptoms of stress 

  • Avoiding others
  • Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
  • Clenched jaw and grinding teeth
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling bad about yourself
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Having a hard time relaxing

Behavioural symptoms of stress 

  • Changes in appetite (either not eating or eating too much)
  • More use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
  • Nervous behaviours (nail biting, fidgeting, and pacing)
  • Procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities

What are the consequences of long-term stress?

A little stress every now and then is not something to be concerned about. But ongoing, chronic stress can cause or worsen many serious health problems, including:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Eating disorders
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as reflux, ulcerative colitis, and IBS
  • Mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Skin and hair problems, such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, and hair loss

Private blood testing for stress hormones

Long term, high levels of stress can have a negative impact on our physical and mental health, so it’s important to keep an eye on the signs and symptoms. But it can be hard to know when the impact of stress is becoming a problem.

At Blue Horizon we offer a comprehensive range of blood testing options cortisol levels – a key marker in stress levels.

Booking your private cortisol stress test 

We make sure the experience of booking a private blood test is as easy, convenient, and painless as possible. By partnering with Spire Healthcare, we make the process simple and seamless by offering easy-to-book appointments at your local Spire Hospital.

After you have selected the right test for you, simply order online through our secure payment system or chat to a member of our team. Once your order is placed, you’ll receive all the information you need to arrange your convenient blood draw appointment at one of our Spire Hospital locations.

How your appointment works 

We partner with Spire Healthcare to offer a professional phlebotomy service. This guarantees that your blood samples are taken and handled correctly and that your results are processed efficiently by clinical professionals. Our confidential blood tests are available at over thirty private clinics around the UK.

Unlike home testing healthcare kits, where you take the sample yourself, our trained professionals reduce the likelihood of errors such as collecting an insufficient amount of blood or accidental contamination, which could delay your test results.

At your appointment, the friendly team will talk to you about your test, collect your blood sample and send it off for testing at an accredited partner laboratory. All you need to do is arrive for your appointment. We’ll take care of the test, and the rest.

Clear, accurate results

The time it takes to receive your results will depend on the type of test you have chosen. When they are ready, your results will be sent directly to you, via email, within the time specified. If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of your results through the post, that can be arranged for you.

You can also choose the option of reported or unreported results. Reported results include information and comment from our GP which you may find helpful to discuss with your own consultant, or for your records.

Find out about our stress hormone tests

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