Stress has a huge effect on
health. Stress has a physiologic and psychological impact on the
body. 43% of adults have adverse effects
due to stress. 75-90% of all
medical visits are in some way related to stress. Stress is
linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis,
gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, cancer, anxiety and
depression. While we can’t eliminate stress from our lives we can
learn how to manage it and eliminate the damaging effects.
A strong reaction to stress
is actually sometimes necessary for survival when encountering
danger or a crisis. This is “fight or flight” reaction, such as
being caught in a burning building. Hormones get released that
change our physiology in order to react appropriately. Our bodies
can handle short-term stress. The problem occurs with long-term or
prolonged and /or severe situations. Unfortunately for many people
stress is a way of life. We have become a nation under chronic
stress. When you are in a stressful situation large amounts
of cortisol are released into
your body, over time elevation of cortisol can have negative
effects on your health. The General Adaptation Syndrome, as it’s
called, causes heart rate increases, breathing becomes rapid,
digestive enzymes decrease, and blood sugar levels increase. When
adaptation occurs cortisol comes in converting protein stores to
blood sugar (to supply energy to muscles). Sodium is retained to
keep body fluid levels up and blood pressure elevated. This is why
continued stress causes diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.
Eventually the body becomes exhausted. Recent research is showing
that chronically high levels of cortisol can result in weight
gain and changes in body composition. Increased cortisol
causes decreased muscle, and increased body fat therefore chronic
stress leads to weight gain.
Managing stress can be done
with relaxation techniques, lifestyle strategies, exercise, sleep,
and nutrients. Utilizing all of these can
lead to a much less stressful
and a healthier life. The benefits from this are reducing the risk
for chronic health conditions, controlling weight, and improving
your quality of life overall.
Chiropractic care also plays
a vital role in the reduction of the effects of stress on the body
and therefore should be included in your
stress reduction program.
This is accomplished by reducing the irritation to the nervous
system through chiropractic check-ups and adjustments. The result
is that people under chiropractic care have healthier nervous
systems, which allows their body to deal with
the daily stresses from the
environment better, so they stay healthier.