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Good Question: What Does Stress Do To Our Bodies?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Jerry Kill talked about his lack of sleep and how the monster of coaching a Big Ten school can wear you out.

Like many jobs, coaching can be high pressure and high stress. So what does stress do to our bodies?

"I think of stress in terms of how it can affect your body, your mood and behaviors," Hennepin County Medical Center's Dr. Martin Stillman said.

He says there is such a thing as good stress. It is called acute stress, and it kicks in during emergency situations.

"A little bit of stress at the right time can be very healthy. And the way we can react and rev up the body if you will," Stillman said.

Exercise is a form of acute stress. You are putting physical stress on your body in a good way that helps your heart rate and metabolism.

While acute stress is temporary, chronic stress is the concern. It affects different parts of the body in different ways -- often negatively.

"With the heart, it has been related to an increased threat of heart disease along with increased blood pressure," he said.

Stillman says chronic stress can also lead to extreme weight loss, weight gain, and often sleep deprivation – which itself can cause depression and anxiety.

"This is over an extended period of time. So while it's difficult to give a definitive date or time period if you will, if it is going on over many weeks and you are having some of these symptoms, that would be a time to be evaluated," he said.

Stillman also talked about asthma sufferers who have chronic stress are more likely to have frequent asthma attacks. Chronic stress also leads to excessive drinking or smoking. And these are just a few examples. It basically causes your body to work against itself.

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