Do You Recognize
The Effects of Stress on You?
You may know you are stressed, but may not know what the effects of stress are on your body. You surely know how you feel when you are stressed, but do you know what impact stress is having on your pursuit of anti aging? See if any of these effects of stress — and I mean chronic stress — are present in you.
The Effects of Stress on Your Digestive System
Stress causes digestion in your gastrointestinal tract to come to a screeching halt. For this reason the food that you just ate begins to ferment and putrefy as it sits in your GI tract. The Creator intended that the food move along through a process which removes the beneficial nutrients and eliminates the rest. When the food sits too long in your intestines, it can result in a number of unpleasant ailments. These include: diarrhea, constipation, duodenal ulcer, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulosis/diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.
Chronic stress can have negative repercussions on an additional digestive function. When you are stressed God designed your liver to release excess glucose and fatty acids into your bloodstream. The glucose is for immediate energy, the fat is for sustained energy. Since you are repressing the urge for fight or flight, the glucose is unused and triggers the pancreas to produce a large amount of insulin to balance your blood sugar level. Chronic stress conditions can result in wild fluctuations of blood sugar levels. Too much glucose accelerates glycation (browning, or aging) of essential proteins; too much insulin ultimately results in diabetes. And, to add insult to injury, much of the unused glucose is converted to stored fat.
The Effects of Stress on Your Circulatory System
Stress causes your blood pressure to rise. If you are enduring repeated situations that induce stress, your blood pressure could remain elevated for long periods of time. High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of kidney failure. In brief, high blood pressure can damage the blood vessels in your kidneys, which may cause them to stop removing wastes and extra fluid from your body. The extra fluid in your blood vessels may then raise your blood pressure even more, which causes greater damage to the kidneys, which leads to higher blood pressure, which, in turn…. You get the picture.
Remember the excess fatty acids that the liver released into your bloodstream when you got stressed? Because of your lack of reaction to chronic-stress-producing situations, your body does not use that excess fat, and it finds its way into your arteries. You mean I can get clogged arteries from chronic stress? Bingo!
The Effects of Stress on Your Adrenals
Because of the sustained and repeated production of adrenaline and cortisol during chronic stress conditions, your adrenals get exhausted and weakened. In fact, your adrenal glands contribute to the production and metabolism of about 150 hormones. Chronic stress considerably overworks them, causing many of your body's systems to suffer, including: blood pressure, brain and nervous system, energy metabolism, ability to mange stress, and immunity.
One well-known product manufactured by the adrenals is DHEA. It is a known hormone that helps to defer the aging process. While it can be taken as a food supplement, stress causes the adrenals to decrease production of it, in favor of the hormone cortisol. Studies have shown that individuals with low levels of DHEA suffer a greater incidence of immune dysfunction, autoimmune disease, heart disease, obesity, mental disturbances, and blood sugar instability. Respected nutritionist Stephen Cherniske, who wrote the book on DHEA, said that though one can take DHEA pills, taking them while living a stresss-filled life is like trying to fill a bucket with holes in it.
Stress Accelerates Aging
There are no two ways about it — stress is bad news for people like you and me, who are trying to slow down the aging process. The effects of stress are far-reaching, and deserve our concern and attention.
Now it occurs to me that this discussion of the effects of stress may have caused your own stress level to be elevated. Well, it certainly would be a cruel trick if I didn't have some good news that could help you to reduce and manage the stress in your life.
We've examined the devastating effects of stress, but before we talk about how to manage or reduce stress, let's consider the causes of stress.