According to a newly released survey people are increasingly worried about their own and their family's health. The irony is that the worry itself could be doing significant damage to their health.
In a report by health provider BUPA it has been found that people's worries are damaging their health by causing sleepless nights, loss of sex drive and erratic eating habits.
The 2007 Worry Report, is the second annual survey carried out by BUPA UK Health Insurance, and it demonstrates that almost one in five people worry constantly about a number of things, and more than half feel they worry more now than five years ago.
Half of those surveyed this year, which is 6% more than in 2006, said they were more worried about their health and their family's health than about issues such as climate change or terrorist attacks.
It seems almost three quarters of people (73%) worry, but 19% admit to worrying all the time or about lots of things.
Dr. Paula Franklin, deputy medical director at BUPA, believes there are many factors behind the growing health concerns and the most important and positive factor is rising health awareness.
Dr. Franklin says many people now want to know more about their health and how to look after it and the evidence for this is seen by the increasing numbers of visitors to health web pages and more people investing in health assessments to monitor their well being.
Franklin says along with a growing awareness of health problems and illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and obesity (the top three health worries identified ), comes a raised awareness of health problems and illnesses.
The report found that 38 per cent worried about cancer, 23 per cent about heart disease, and 19 per cent about obesity.
The report found that more than a third (39%) of worriers experience sleepless nights, nearly half (43%) have their eating habits affected, while 1 in 8 drink more alcohol to help them relax and 1 in 13 lose their sex drive.
BUPA recommends regular exercise, talking to friends about your worries, a balanced diet, and avoiding caffeine as ways to combat anxiety and stress.