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Anxiety has become one of the most common long-term health problems and can have a devastating impact on work, relationships and family life. While anxiety is usually treated as a psychological problem, there can sometimes be a physical cause. Treating the physical problem will usually eliminate or reduce the symptoms of anxiety.

Hormones

Hormones are responsible for many important functions in the body, including mood control. An imbalance of hormones can cause physical and mental health problems, including anxiety, mood swings, nausea and fluid retention. The menstrual cycle, puberty and menopause are all responsible for major shifts in the balance of hormones. Some health conditions, such as thyroid dysfunction, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and chronic stress, can also affect hormone production.

Gas

Excess gas in the digestive tract is a common physical cause of anxiety, as trapped gas can affect the way you breathe. Gas in the digestive tract can also make it painful or difficult to take a full breath, leading to short or shallow breaths. Shallow breathing leads to hyperventilation, a well-known cause of anxiety. Excess or trapped gas can also be extremely painful and sometimes mimics the symptoms of a heart attack, causing further anxiety.

Food Intolerance

Food intolerances can cause a wide range of symptoms that many people do not connect to the food they are eating. Anxiety, depression, headaches, digestive disorders, skin conditions and aching joints can all be the result of food intolerances. Currently, there are no reliable tests to diagnose most food intolerances, but keeping a diary of symptoms and the food you have eaten will enable you to identify patterns.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Low levels of some nutrients can cause anxiety-like symptoms, such as shortness of breath, dizziness and mood swings. Iron deficiency is common in women and can cause fatigue, dizziness and anxiety. Low levels of B vitamins and magnesium can make it difficult to relax, leading to increased anxiety, mood swings and muscle tension.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common digestive disorder that causes chronic heartburn, acid indigestion, nausea and sometimes abnormal food regurgitation. Chronic digestive problems affect the way you breathe, as it can feel uncomfortable taking a deep or long breath. This often leads to shallow breathing, which triggers anxiety. Unfortunately, anxiety can also make the symptoms of GERD worse.

Again, anxiety is usually treated as a psychological disorder, and that is reason for knowing our own bodies and doing a bit of investigating on our own. If there are physical causes such as the above that are causing anxiety or anxiety-like symptoms, then try to determine a fix for it or inform your doctor. And get on with living a healthy and happier life.

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