I am go­ing to snap

Montreal Times - - News -

For sev­eral weeks now I have talked about stress and the need to de­crease our stress lev­els. We need to learn to re­lax!!! There are many rea­sons for this need… .there is a re­la­tion­ship be­tween stress and dis­ease. When we are stressed our cor­ti­sol lev­els re­main high.

Cor­ti­sol is a hor­mone in the body that in­creases sug­ars in the blood­stream, in­creases the availability of sub­stances that re­pair tis­sues and en­hances the brain’s use of glu­cose.When peo­ple feel anx­i­ety, the hy­po­thal­a­mus sends sig­nals to the adrenal glands to re­lease adrenaline and cor­ti­sol. How­ever, when peo­ple feel a lot of day-to-day stress, the fight-or-flight re­ac­tion of the body to stress stays ac­tive, and cor­ti­sol con­tin­ues to re­lease sug­ars into the blood­stream. Be­sides heart dis­ease, di­ges­tive prob­lems, sleep prob­lems, skin is­sues and mem­ory prob­lems, one of the side ef­fects of high cor­ti­sol lev­els is weight gain.

Many of us strug­gle with those ex­tra pounds and feel par­tic­u­larly frus­trated with the thick­en­ing around the mid­dle. Sound fa­mil­iar? Weight gain from in­creased cor­ti­sol lev­els tends to col­lect around the stom­ach area. Fat cells in the stom­ach are more sen­si­tive to cor­ti­sol, and they are very ef­fec­tive at stor­ing en­ergy. Un­for­tu­nately, weight gain in the stom­ach area is one of the most dan­ger­ous places for the body to store fat. Stom­ach fat is not only unattrac­tive, it can also lead to many se­ri­ous health con­di­tions like di­a­betes, meta­bolic syn­drome and heart dis­ease.As I have men­tioned in the past….no one talks about your stress level and not many doc­tors test for cor­ti­sol lev­els. Why not? A sim­ple blood, urine and or saliva test will let you know how you are do­ing with stress. When peo­ple feel stress and anx­i­ety on an ev­ery­day ba­sis, the body con­tin­u­ously re­leases adrenaline and cor­ti­sol into the blood stream. Adrenaline dis­si­pates when anx­i­ety starts to de­crease how­ever; cor­ti­sol lingers in the body and in­creases the de­sire for peo­ple to eat more car­bo­hy­drates to com­pen­sate for phys­i­cal ex­er­tion.The body is pro­grammed to fight off stress and dan­ger like our an­ces­tors did with phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity. Be­cause peo­ple to­day do not phys­i­cally burn off ex­tra en­ergy after be­ing af­fected by stress, in­creased car­bo­hy­drate crav­ings and car­bo­hy­drate con­sump­tion from lin­ger­ing cor­ti­sol lev­els usu­ally cause weight gain.

There are ways to lower cor­ti­sol lev­els nat­u­rally and con­trol weight gain. Reg­u­lar ex­er­cise helps to burn the ex­tra blood sugar made avail­able through el­e­vated cor­ti­sol lev­els. Suf­fi­cient amounts of sleep help lower cor­ti­sol lev­els be­cause the body’s ner­vous sys­tem stays in a state of alert­ness that re­quires cor­ti­sol. Get­ting enough sleep also in­creases sero­tonin and dopamine, which help con­trol crav­ings. Stress and cer­tain health con­di­tions can raise cor­ti­sol lev­els and cause weight gain, es­pe­cially around the stom­ach area. Keep cor­ti­sol lev­els down by ex­er­cis­ing, get­ting enough sleep, eat­ing a healthy diet and tak­ing sup­ple­ments and vitamins that sup­port healthy cor­ti­sol lev­els. Mayo Clinic “Win con­trol over the Stress in you Life” Pan­tothenic Acid (b5) is of­ten called the anti-stress vi­ta­min, as it is closely in­volved in adrenal cor­tex func­tion. Adding this to your sup­ple­ment regime can help the body re­pair from adrenal fa­tigue. A diet rich in lean pro­tein, fish, mo­noun­sat­u­rated fats and com­plex car­bo­hy­drates like the Mediter­ranean diet helps lower cor­ti­sol and re­duces stom­ach fat. Herbs like basil and gin­seng and vi­ta­min C also help re­duce cor­ti­sol and blood sugar lev­els.

The other thing we can do is learn to rec­og­nize stress and to man­age it. There is no need to be in a con­stant state of stress and anx­i­ety.We all have to be aware of what stresses us and what we can do about it. Breath­ing, yoga and mus­cle re­lax­ation ex­er­cises are a few of the meth­ods I have talked about. The huge bonus of the Magne­sphere Ther­apy is the re­lax­ation ef­fect it has on peo­ple who use it even if the ses­sion is for some­thing else such as ro­ta­tor cuff pain. I know I am harp­ing on the topic but the old nurse in me knows how im­por­tant it is to learn about this silent en­emy “stress”.

What mo­ti­vates you to ex­am­ine your own stress lev­els? The fear of dis­ease be­cause of high stress and the re­la­tion­ships be­tween stress and dis­ease? If this is too long term and un­cer­tain then what about weight gain around your mid­dle? or headaches and im­me­di­ate ef­fects of too much stress? poor re­la­tion­ships and ten­sion in the home be­cause fam­ily mem­bers are anx­ious and stressed? Think about it and more im­por­tantly, Do some­thing about it.

Com­ments, sug­ges­tions are wel­come.

Con­tact me at Health Ac­cess Home and Nurs­ing care. donna@ash­canada.com


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