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Is your illness due to stress?

 

What’s STRESS got to do with it?!?!

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Stress is being blamed for a lot of things now a day. Heck, even my vet told us that the cause of our cat’s bladder infection was probably due to stress. How can that be? My cat is the most layback part of our family. His biggest stress is deciding when to attack our dog. If anything it is our dog that should be the one who is stressed. So why are his illness and so many other illnesses being blamed on stress?

What is stress?

The best medically related definition of stress that I found is from Medicinenet which states stress is: “a physical, mental or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Stresses can be external (from the environment, psychological, or social situations) or internal (illness, or from a medical procedure)”.

I suspect most people when they think of stress think of the emotional symptoms of having stress. This includes; feeling overwhelmed, worried, frustrated, easily agitated, or depressed. Stress can indeed cause these symptoms, but more concerning is that stress can actually cause problems to your physical health.

What happens to the body under times of stress?

When the body senses a harmful situation it will release some chemicals that cause a chain of events that trigger the “fight or flight” response. The “fight or flight” response was an evolutional development to keep the body safe from harm. When experiencing this response to a stress, your body has a physical response, which includes; increasing your heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure and muscle tension. This stress response is designed to be a protective measure, which results in your body to either ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ from the harmful situation. This is an appropriate response when the harmful situation is life threating such as a bear chasing after you.

The problem lies in the fact that our bodies are unable to tell the difference between a life threating situations versus one that is just perceived as harmful. Our bodies produce the same physiological response to a life-threating event such as seeing a bear as it does to the stress that can occur from day to day hassles such as stress from work or from the drive during rush hour traffic.

When the body experiences this level of stress regularly it results in the release of the stress hormone cortisol. This causes a chain of events including the release of chemicals that result in increased inflammation. This inflammation then is believed to be one of the primary causes of disease and physical dysfunction.

What are some of the physical symptoms of stress?

The physical symptoms of stress can be difficulty sleeping, fatigue, brain fog, upset stomach, diarrhea, insomnia, increase pain and headaches. Stress is the most common reason I hear as to why people’s migraines have worsened.

Not only can stress cause physical symptoms but it can also cause medical diseases. Inflammation that associated with this chronic levels of stress is believed to be the cause of many of the chronic diseases. These diseases include high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, autoimmune disorders, asthma, arthritis, some types of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

So when you doctor tells you that your symptoms or disease is due to stress, believe it. The majority of the time I feel like the patient and their family thinks that I am just calling them crazy. But this is not the case. I am not saying that they are not having symptoms, nor am I saying that they are making up or causing their symptoms because they are depressed. I am actually saying that the ‘Stress’ may actually be the cause of their symptoms.

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Got Stress?!?

Got Stress?!?

Here something you can do to help!

Now days, who doesn’t? So many things in life can cause stress including work, traffic, kids, family, bills, taxes and watching the news just to name a few. Stress is often sited as a cause of many medical illnesses such as migraine headaches, stomach problems, depression, suppressed immune system, hypertension and heart disease.

It is how you deal with that stress is the important thing. Many people deal with stress by drinking, smoking and overeating thus also increasing the risk of alcohol abuse, lung cancer and obesity. As a physician I encourage my patients to find ways to deal with stress in a non-destructive way. Personally I use exercise to help me deal with my stress. Recently I discovered I had been drinking some natural stress reducers in my health shake, Shakeology.

Shakeology is all natural whole food shake. It contains 70 different super foods, some of which are considered to be adaptogens. Adaptogens are herbs or compounds found in nature that naturally helps your body cope with stress. These adaptogens help maintain balance in your body. For example if you are wired from stress, adaptogens will calm you down. If you are too depleted and lack energy, an adaptogen will lift you back up. Adaptogens also promote a strong immune function by modulating or stabilizing your immune system. If you are sick it will improve your immune response, if you have an autoimmune problem they may help decrease that response. Last but not least, adaptogens naturally help increase your energy.

There are nine different adaptogens blended in Shakeology including; Ashwagandha, Astragalus, Cordyceps, Ginkgo, Maca Root, Maitake, Reishe, Schisandra, and Holy Basil.

Here is some more information on a couple of the adaptogens that are found in Shakeology.

Astragalus root is one of the most potent adaptogen. It is an ancient Chinese herb that has been used for thousands of years for natural therapeutic healing. As an adaptogen, Astragalus root protects the body against physical, mental, emotional stress and promotes a healthy immune system. It is felt to help fight viral & bacteria infections, inflammation, and may even fight cancer. Astragalus is good for people with diabetes since it has also been shown to help maintain normal blood sugar levels. Because it contains high amounts of antioxidants, Astragalus can protect cells against free radical damage. Astragalus also boosts metabolism, endurance and increase energy, which ultimately can lead to weight loss.

Maca Root has been used for centuries to help combat stress and fatigue and increase stamina. As an adaptogen, it may also help support a healthy immune system. Maca root is a nutrient-dense whole food packed with vitamins, plant sterols, dietary fiber, essential fatty acids, minerals (including calcium, magnesium, and iron), as well as 19 of the 22 essential amino acids. Maca Root has a higher amount of calcium than is in milk. The omega acids found in Maca root helps support brain function. Maca root has even been reported to boost libido, improve fertility and decrease menopause symptoms- BONUS!!

So if you also have a life full of stress, put down that margarita and give Shakeology a try. I challenge you to try for a month and find out just how well your body can feel when it is fueled with what it truly needs.

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Shakeology is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or been evaluated by theFood and Drug Administration.