Understanding The Consequences Of Poorly Managed Stress
In short, the theory is that with our ever-stressed, fast-paced lifestyle, our bodies are pumping out cortisol almost constantly, which can wreak havoc on our health.
This whole-body process, mediated by hormones and the immune system, identifies cortisol as one of the many players. But isolating its role helps put into context the many complex mechanisms that lead to specific physiological damage... such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes (increased blood sugar level), hypothyroid, immune issues, wieight gain.
The following is a typical example of how the stress response operates as its intended survival mechanism (ToDay's Dietitian):
1. An individual is faced with a stressor.
2. A complex hormonal cascade ensues, and the adrenals secrete cortisol.
3. Cortisol prepares the body for a fight-or-flight response by flooding it with glucose, supplying an immediate energy source to large muscles.
4. Cortisol inhibits insulin production in an attempt to prevent glucose from being stored, favoring its immediate use.
5. Cortisol narrows the arteries while the epinephrine increases heart rate, both of which force blood to pump harder and faster.
6. The individual addresses and resolves the situation.
7. Hormone levels return to normal IF stress is "temporary" and no longer an issue for that day.
As we have seen above, cortisol constricts blood vessels and increases blood pressure to enhance the delivery of oxygenated blood. This is advantageous for fight-or-flight situations but not perpetually.
Over time, such arterial constriction and high blood pressure can lead to vessel damage and plaque buildup—the perfect scenario for a heart attack.
While cortisol is an important and helpful part of the body’s response to stress, it’s extremely important that the body’s relaxation response be activated so the body’s functions can return to normal following a stressful event.
Possible Solutions When Overstressed
Yes, there is such a thing as being addicted to stress!
How could a person possibly want to overstress himself? When you are pressured to produce, the body calls on adrenaline to help meet your wishes. But adrenaline happens to closely resemble amphetamines.
Amphetamines give people a high. This helps explain why some people actually live on stress . . . until their adrenal glands (or something else) just wears out.
Thereafter, it is hard to even get out of bed in the morning. These are the people who need artificial stimulants to keep them going. They become dependent on stimulating drugs (like coffee or Pepsi) just to make it through each day.
Others seem to purposefully search out an emergency or make one to stimulate adrenaline in order to produce the energy they need to meet their goals. And their stress seems to be contagious to co-workers and family!
General Conditions Caused or Aggravated by Stress
Cancer - Infections and Lowered Immune Response - Depression -
Sexual Malfunctions - Exhaustion - High Blood Pressure - Heart Disease
- Depletion of Vitamins Especially B Complex and Vitamin C.
Care & feeding of the adrenals
Sitting atop both kidneys are the adrenal glands.
Central portions secrete hormones to help control the body's automatic responses (like heartbeat and movement of food through your digestive tract). Adrenaline is the major hormone.
b. The outer portion of each gland helps control digestion and your use of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and governs your general energy level.
The whole gland produces around 50 different steroid hormones, fueling the sex drive and controlling any inflammation in the body. You can see why a deficiency here could be a reason for arthritic inflammation.
In the first place, stressful activities or situations use up a large amount of Vitamin C. Under duress, a person could use up several grams in a day. Animals do, but they are usually able to manufacture enough vitamin C in their liver. Humans do not have this capacity.
When the adrenal glands are constantly on "high alert" you have a pretty good chance to reach a point of adrenal exhaustion.
This might open the door to:
- Fatigue, lethargy
- Lightheadedness (including dizziness and fainting) when rising from a sitting or laying-down position
- Lowered blood pressure and blood sugar
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering (brain fog)
- Consistently feeling unwell or difficulty recovering from infections
- Craving either salty or sugary foods to keep going
- Unexplained hair loss
- Alternating constipation and diarrhea
- Mild depression
- Decreased sex drive
- Sleep difficulties
- Unexplained pain in the upper back or neck
- Increased symptoms of PMS for women
- Tendency to gain weight and inability to lose it – especially around the waist
If a person suffers from Adrenal exhaustion, then that person is more than likely deficient in essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
Other Possible Solutions To Consider
Without the proper amounts of these vital nutrients, your body’s ability to heal from any chronic condition is severely impaired.
Licorice Root is also an adrenal building herb. It contains several hormone-like compounds that are easily converted for use by the adrenals. One of these is Cortin, which is very similar to the body's cortisone. As you may be aware, artificially-produced cortisone has dangerous side-effects that are not experienced when you make your own. Always protect the ability to make your own!
Licorice root contains glycyrrhizinic acid that gently stimulates the adrenals and also helps clear the lymph nodes of toxins. It is very soothing and encourages good digestion, too. This herb is mild and can be beneficial for children, and is useful in all affections of the respiratory tract. Although licorice is wonderful, remember that too much can deplete your body of potassium.
For the stress of menopause, licorice root also has estrogenic activity. In fact, the adrenals have some capacity to produce estrogen for you! So, for those going through the change of life and know that estrogen helps keep their bones strong, healthy adrenals are important.
Stress-J caps or Liquid
Relieves nervous stress and muscle tension
anywhere in the body, but especially in the colon. As a relaxant, it helps
with nervous indigestion, spastic colitis, anorexia, tension headaches and
Acute stress resulting in nervousness, difficulty relaxing, inability to
relax/sleep, and excitability.
Nervous Fatigue Formula (tcm)
General stimulant for weakness due to stress and burnout (for when your
heart just isn't in it any more).
Nervous fatigue formula has helped infirmities including mental fatigue, forgetfulness, low thyroid, insomnia from frequent waking and restless dreaming.