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Teenage Stress Is Associated with Health Issues in Later Life



Teenage Stress Is Associated with Health Issues in Later Life

Scientists have warned that teenage stress can have unintended consequences in the future.

Teenagers in the United States suffer greatly from stress, and adolescence is challenging even in the best of circumstances. Your hormones are out of control, your body and mind are transforming internally, and everyone changes at a different rate. You must deal with external influences from your family, friends, school, and, increasingly, social media.

Nearly half of American teenagers surveyed in 2018—which included over 35,800—said they experienced stress “all the time.” Several studies have demonstrated the detrimental effects of high levels of ongoing stress on our physical and mental health, including connections to immune system disorders, weariness, obesity, diabetes, asthma, heart disease, and digestive problems. However, the American Heart Association has found that stress throughout adolescence can have long-lasting impacts on an adult’s health.

According to study author Fangqi Guo, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles, “chronic stress may cause the release of various stress hormones such as catecholamines and corticosteroids, and activate the immune system in a way that results in chronic inflammation.” Guo told Newsweek this information.

Blood clot risk may rise as a result of this inflammation’s ability to damage blood vessel walls and raise cardiovascular activity.

Additionally, the development of hormone signaling pathways is crucial during adolescence. Guo stated that modifications in cortisol and stress hormone signaling at this time may have long-term effects on a person’s cardiometabolic health.

These worries about cardiometabolic health cover a wide range of conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity, all of which raise the risk of heart disease. “Understanding the effects of perceived stress starting in childhood is important for preventing, lessening or managing higher cardiometabolic risk factors in young adults,” Guo stated.

The team examined data from the Southern California Children’s Health Study, a sizable, long-term study involving over 12,000 children, to examine the effects of environmental factors on children’s health and well-being that has been ongoing for more than 30 years. Their findings were published in the journal of the American Heart Association.

To learn more about the reported stress levels between adolescence and the early stages of adulthood, the researchers examined data on 276 participants from this sizable cohort. “Our study initially measured adolescents’ perceived stress levels when they were 13 years old,” Guo stated. “We found that consistently high stress from age 13 to young adulthood affects one’s cardiovascular health in adulthood.”

Guo stated that the outcomes shocked even her. “Although we assumed that perceived stress patterns should have some association with cardiometabolic endpoints, we did not expect such consistent patterns across various outcomes,” she stated. According to our research, perceived stress patterns over time may have a profound impact on a number of cardiometabolic endpoints, such as obesity, vascular health, and fat distribution. This finding highlights the importance of stress management as early as in adolescence, as a health protective behavior.”

Although further research is necessary to comprehend the underlying processes of this correlation and the age at which these long-term effects start to manifest, Guo stated that their findings represent a significant indication that stress throughout adolescence ought to be given careful consideration.

“Our findings suggest that people with a decreasing stress pattern from adolescence to adulthood show better heart health compared to people with consistently high stress level,” Guo stated. “Therefore, we suggest promoting healthy coping strategies for stress management early in life, which may help prevent development of risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases.”

Here are some easy strategies recommended by the American Heart Association if you are experiencing stress:

  • Talk to yourself positively by changing your perspective from “I can’t do this” to “I’ll try my best.”
  • Breathe slowly and deeply.
  • Take a stroll or work out.
  • Divide complex situations into smaller, easier-to-manage ones.
  • Try yoga or meditation.
  • Speak with a family member or go out with a friend.

Additionally, the AHA suggests the following if you are the parent of a troubled teen:

  • Talk to them; find out how they are feeling and let them know you are available for them to talk to.
  • Promote good habits by helping them with basic habits like getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, exercising, and spending less time on screens.
  • Set a positive example for others by attending to your own physical and emotional health.
  • Recognize when to seek assistance—seeking expert assistance is never shameful when necessary.


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