The amount of stress the modern human has to endure is unprecedented. The kind of stress is also very different from what the central nervous system is designed to handle. When ancient humans were ambushed by a saber tooth cat, all they needed was a quick surge of adrenaline to mobilize their bodies and minds to run away as fast as possible, and once they made it to safety, they could relax the rest of the day. Or they could use that energy surge to fight off the predator while still spending the rest of their day recuperating.
In contrast, the type of stress we are exposed today is quite different and very unhealthy. We cannot just skewer that annoying boss with a spear for getting on our nerves all day long. Even with the annoying boss out of the way we are still pulled apart by multiple responsibilities and are forced to multitask from the moment we wake up. To make things worse, we are constantly distracted by the Internet, text messages and other digital activities. Living in a noisy urban environment with cars constantly honking and ambulance sirens wailing magnifies the stress –noise pollution is bad for your health along with chemical pollution.
While the occasional “normal” acute stress does not usually lead to negative health consequences and can even boost the immune system, chronic stress leads to a slew of illnesses. The adrenal glands release stress hormones causing multiple health problems, and they may eventually deplete their ability to make even normal levels of hormones which leads to further problems. Sleep deprivation due to lack of time or increased amount of stress also leads to poor health. Some of the health conditions that are made worse by chronic stress or where stress can serve as a precipitating factor are:
- Asthma exacerbation
- Gastrointestinal Diseases
- Peptic Ulcer Disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) and especially mortality due to CHD
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Migraine Headaches
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Poor response to vaccines
- Cancer: stress can promote tumor growth and even increase the likelihood of developing cancer
- Neurotic Depression
- Schizophreniform disorder
You can read more about stress here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3341916/
We therefore take chronic stress very seriously at Integrative MD and treat it as a major disease-causing factor and an obstacle to wellness. We help you pinpoint the major causes of stress in your life and together create a plan to eliminate those stress factors or reduce their impact. The members of our extended healing team are experts in healing practices that help reduce stress and improve sleep. We’ll do our best to find a practice that works best for you, be that meditation, acupuncture, yoga, therapeutic massage or something else. Because stress usually causes depletion of vital nutrients due to improper diet, eating habits and inflammatory response from the body, we’ll create a nutritional and supplementation plan to ensure you have all the nutrients necessary to heal, resist the effects of stress, and function at the best possible level.