The Dangers of Stress

In the past 15 years our practice has seen changes, one in particular is causing concern, the number of people reporting they are under tremendous stress, daily and continuously; the increasing number of clients coming to me with panic attacks - a severe stress response 'fight or flight'

Definition of Stress by Dr M Guarneri

                          " when asked to do one more thing, unable to cope"

The most worrying aspect is no-one is talking about this "lifestyle health problem'.

It is a problem; as I hope to tell on this page

Everyone says they are stressed; you often hear these phases:

  • "It's normal to be stressed"

  • "Everyone's stressed"

  • "I'm always working under stress"

  • "I'm stressed out - but that's OK"

To hear these all the time means that we are all accepting that stress MUST be part of our lives.

I strongly disagree with this!

Let me show you an analogy to illustrate why it's important to do something about your stress levels.

A Different Perspective?

 

Let's change the word stress - replace it with 'nausea', 'aching muscles' or 'too much to drink'.

We are going to look at the options, sometimes, often or always.

Let's consider 'sometimes'

 

We may sometimes feel nauseous, sometimes have aching muscles or sometimes have too much to drink?

Of course that's okay - we may have eaten the wrong food, exercised too much or had an occasion to celebrate.

Let's consider 'often'

 

We may often feel nauseous, often have aching muscles or often have too much to drink?

That's not so good! We need to watch and be aware of what is happening.

Why am I feeling sick - what's the reason? These aching muscles are concerning, perhaps I'll try a massage. Is this drinking becoming a habit?

Let's consider 'always'

 

We always feel nauseous, always have aching muscles or always have too much to drink.

This is dangerous!

Always nauseous - I'd go to the doctor, as something is wrong.

Always have aching muscles - I'd better book an appointment with a physiotherapist (or kinesiologist), as something could be wrong.

And finally if you were always drinking too much there would be many problems starting to emerge at work and at home!

If your stress situation is 'often' or 'always' some important information follows.

90% of all visits to doctors in US have some stress involvement!

Let’s have a closer look at stress hormones: adrenalin, cortisol and aldosterone.

You may have heard an increased heart rate can increase blood pressure, that can be permanent. But there are more changes to take into consideration when discussing the effects of stress on our health.

Here is an interesting piece of research about the impact of stress on the immune system:

An experiment was done on a group of medical students. A punch biopsy (a small piece of skin removed) on their arm was done during the term and the numbers of days taken to heal was recorded.

 

Then the punch biopsy was repeated at exam time – with the extra stress they took 40% longer to heal!

The fight or flight response affects:

  • Insulin production, hence blood sugar – affects diabetes and weight control

  • Hormones – not just fertility but all of hormones that run our bodies, e.g. how do you correct a stressed thyroid with medications? This also affects our relationship with food.

  • Fat storage – if you’re stressed you get fat / put on weight; affects obesity and weight control

 

One interesting thing that I recently discovered is that stress affects your bone density (which can lead to osteoporosis). So take all the calcium supplements you want but if you’re stressed your digestive system cannot adequately break down the tablet; your body and bones cannot adequately uptake and utilise the nutrients.

We’ve also seen in the research study referred to above that our immune system doesn’t work so well under stress.

 

Our immune system is important to protect us in many ways – apart from colds and flus think of the many and varied autoimmune diseases and cancers…

 

AND NOT FORGETTING YOUR BRAIN!!!!! It can go into tunnel vision, becoming overfocussed to what’s in front of us but less aware of what else is happening around us; comprehension suffers and your brain feels foggy.

To discuss your stress levels - make an appointment with Jean today