What is stress and how does it affect our health? During National Stress Awareness Month, we're taking the time to learn more about stress: why it occurs and ways we can manage it. Most people do not realize how stress can negatively affect our health and how many symptoms and diseases can be linked to stress. It is estimated that 70-80% of primary care visits involve an illness that has been caused by stress.
What is stress?
Stress is your body's natural nonspecific reaction to a challenge or a demand. Stress is a disturbance of the body's ability to stabilize and maintain its internal environment. When stress becomes chronic, the emotional and physical stress can eventually result in disease.
Exposure to stress is a common daily occurance and the impact of stress is strongly influenced by the type and duration of the stressor. There can be good stressors, like childbirth, or bad stressors, such as a death of a family member or friend. Thus change, whether good or bad, can induce a stress response.
How does stress affect our health?
Stress affects you both mentally and physically and if not controlled can turn into a downward spiral of poor health that one can spend the rest of their lives trying to recover from.
Our body's first response to stress is to establish internal stability by active means - releasing stress hormones and other chemical mediators. This is a normal function and when the stress is removed, things will go back to normal. When this stress response is not turned off adequately or remains turned on for too long, there can be significant wear and tear on the body and brain.
The experience "stressed out" is caused by the body's release of key hormones and neurotransmitters and the activation of the nervous system that leads to physical overload. The main contributor is out innate "fight-or-flight" response led by cortisol, proinflammatory cytokines, and increased sympathetic nervous system activity.
When a person has long-term stress, continued activation of the stress response eventually causes physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms secondary to the effects on the immune, endocrine (i.e. adrenal glands), and neurological systems. In normal circumstances, the interaction of these three systems is what maintains homeostasis and wellness.
What are some common stress related symptoms and behaviors?
Some common stress related physical complaints are: insomnia, weakened immune system, irritable bowel and poor digestion, sexual dysfunction and low libido, aches and pains, chest pain or a feeling like your heart is racing, fatigue, headaches, dizziness and shaking, high blood pressure, muscle tension, and more.
Some common unhealthy stress related behaviors are: self medicating with alcohol and other drugs, gambling, overeating or developing an eating disorder, compulsiveness, smoking, and more.
How can I help manage my stress?
Managing stress starts with lifestyle. Focusing on ways to achieve quality sleep, healthy eating, nutritional supplementation, and regular exercise are effective ways of counteracting the negative effects of chronic stress and are alternatives to the eventual need of pharmaceutical therapy.
Are there TeleWellnessMD® therapies that can help with stress?
Our natural response for managing stress requires several key nutrients, so it is essential to replenish those nutrients through supplementation and a healthy diet. There are many supplements and Rx therapies from TeleWellnessMD® that directly support our mitochondria, the energy producing cells in our body, as well as therapies that support the production of energy and hormones to keep us mentally and physically healthy.
- B vitamin stores are often depleted from our stress response and can help in creating neurotransmitters, blood cells and support the nervous system. Methylcobalamin B12 and B-Complex injections can help.
- NAD+ is a form of niacin (vitamin B3) and is responsible for energy, immune response and DNA repair.
- Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to manage cortisol levels.
- MOTS-C directly supports the mitochondria by managing the utilization of glucose and can increase energy without spiking insulin levels.
- Epithalon helps with slowing aging by helping the hypothalamus (our body's control center) function optimally.
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