Stress: Breaking the Cycle Behind Most Medical Problems
How to deal with stress, and what you can do
By Roni Deluz ND, RN, Ph.D
Did you know that up to 90% of all doctor visits are for issues related to stress? Why is this? How does stress affect the immune system, and what can be done to stay healthier?
The Relationship Between Stress and Hormones
The human body has many daily processes and they are usually governed by one hormone or the other. These hormones are secreted upon instruction from the brain and are produced when the brain senses a part of the body that needs to function. For example, when the body is in danger, a hormone is released. This instinctual process was very important in ancient times, to prevent humans from predators. Even though humans don’t currently have the same threats as they did in ancient times, the human brain can still sense the body is under attack by non-similar situations.
Examples of common stress situations
- Demanding boss or non-compliant employees
- Bad work schedule
- A difficult spouse
- Taking care of sick family member
- Poor sleep habits
- Negative friends
- Threatening situations in your business, job or home
When such stresses set in, the body produces two hormones on instruction from the brain – cortisol and adrenaline.
Adrenaline is the hormone that puts you in a perfect response situation to any attack. The hormone not only boosts your energy supplies and elevates your heart rate but increases the blood pressure too. On the other hand, cortisol shuts down all parts of the internal body that is not needed to take the entire body out of danger. The growth process and reproductive and digestive systems are suppressed. When stress “turns off” these functions, it can lead to a series of medical problems.
Top Medical Concerns Related to Stress
There are countless diseases whose origins can be traced back to stress. While some of these can be considered mild, there is a whole spectrum of them that are as life threatening as they come.
Heart Disease – when stress activates the production of cortisol, it leads to an elevation of the blood flow and blood pressure. When that happens, cholesterol and triglycerides get released into the bloodstream. This will in turn lead to a risk of heart disease. Should the stress levels stay high enough, it is only a matter of time before the heart becomes diseased.
Obesity – Again, this is a place where cortisol comes through. Even though obesity is linked with storing excess fats in certain parts of the body, such storage in the legs and hips are not as dangerous as the one in the belly. Stressed people have a higher level of cortisol which increases the rate and volume of fats stored in the lower abdomen.
Diabetes – A large percentage of stressed people are known to eat more when they are under pressure. When they do eat, it is never healthy food – and all that sugar/ junk food will influence their diabetic tendencies. On the other hand, stress has also been linked to elevated glucose levels of people who already have type 2 diabetes to deal with.
Aging – Aging might not be a disease on its own, but accelerated aging surely is. Based on a study carried out on mothers, the group of mothers who were more stressed than the other group were discovered to age faster than the other group. To put things in context, between 9 – 17 years was added on to the chronological ages of the mothers who were under stress.
Headaches – It needs no telling that stress has been highly linked with headaches. It is also interesting to note that stress is not just an active ingredient in many tension headaches, but serious migraines as well.
How to Decrease Stress
Stress does not have to be a part of your daily life. Besides the poor effect it has on your health, it also puts a dent in your quality of life and relationships. Implement these easy tips.
Exercise – Even though it sounds contradictory, serious physical activity will help alleviate mental anxiety. This especially works if you exercise regularly.
Try supplements – Some supplements have been researched and backed by science to reduce stress and anxiety considerably. These are, but not limited to, Calm tea, B vitamins, Magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids and Lemon Balm.
Try a Health Coach – People who are under chronic stress do better with a Health or Wellness Coach for many reasons. A Health Coach program is built on behavioral changes and improvement in the quality of life.
Try Aromatherapy – My favorite essential oils for stress and relaxation are Lavender, Bergamot, Lemongrass and Neroli. These oils promote a sense of calmness when putting 3 to 5 drops of each in an aromatherapy infuser. You can also add these oils to Epsom salts and add it to your bath water. You can also use them one at a time.
Laugh – Sounds funny? Well, it is impossible to laugh and feel anxious at the same time. Once anxiety is eliminated, stress levels are almost instantly reduced. Watch a comedy show.
Avoid these things to start
What you put into your body could determine how high your stress levels could get. Here are just a few substances to avoid that can cause stress to the body.
Sugar – When you eat more sugar, your body releases more cortisol to manage it. Need we say more?
Artificial sweeteners – Even more dangerous than sugars are the artificial sweeteners. They are known to produce serious side effects like migraines, manic episodes and mood disorders, all of which can lead to stress.
Process White bread and Simple Carbs – Highly processed foods with little nutrition and high carbohydrates converts to sugar and toxicity that can create stress in the body.
Stress is about one of the most underrated causes of many serious ailments in the human body. You must make it a priority to reduce stress to prevent disease and accelerated aging. For more information visit www.drronideluz.com.