​​Cracked teeth, low energy and a poor complexion are just a few of the signals that you might be way too stressed out.

We all deal with stress from time to time. And in many ways, a little stress can be healthy.

In fact, acute bouts of stress—that is, stress that lasts anywhere from a few minutes to several hours—can promote stronger immune functioning, according to research from Dr Firdaus Dhabhar.

But when stress is prolonged or chronic—meaning it sticks around for weeks, months, or even years—it can lead to a “dysregulation” or negative changes to your immune system and other biological functions, Dhabhar says.

What kinds of changes? Chronic stress suppresses your protective immunity—your body’s ability to defend itself against diseases and pathogens. It also negatively impacts cell function and contributes to low-grade inflammation, says Dr Suzanne Segerstrom.

As a result, “it could make one susceptible to illness,” Dhabhar adds. So in a very literal way, stress can make you sick. 

But there are other signs—both obvious and subtle—that chronic stress is messing with your health. Here are eight of them.

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