What is Stress?
Stress is a reaction to something that disturbs our usual flow. Intense, catastrophic stress can result from experiences of war or a terrorist attack. For a lot of us, however, it’s more likely we’ll be faced with common stressors like challenging job situations or significant life changes—moving, having a baby, a death in the family, etc. Stress can also arise from everyday inconveniences like running late, arguing with a friend or even standing in line too long for coffee.
Stress: The Good and the Bad
The good news? Stress is natural and a product of our evolutionary path as humans—it helps alert us to situations requiring attention and can even keep us alive by fueling our bodies with the required hormones to help us adapt and react to life-threatening situations.
The bad news? Long-term, chronic stress can be harmful to the body in a number of ways. Depending on your genetic makeup and where you’re at in life, any number of stressors may fire up your central nervous system and trigger your fight or flight response. When this reaction becomes a constant, it can strain your stress-response systems. You may experience a persistent increase of heart rate and blood pressure which can, in turn, lead to blood clots, hampered blood flow and, eventually, to cardiovascular disease.
More Side Effects of Persistent Stress
In addition to the above, chronic or poorly managed stress can lead to the following:
- Digestive issues: the body decreases digestive secretion production as it focuses instead on sending blood to your muscles (since it assumes you’ll need them to react to a fight or flight situation)
- Restricted blood flow to vital organs, including the liver: the liver is the organ responsible for removing fat and cholesterol from blood; stress can prevent the liver from filtering properly and as a result, you may experience weight gain, obesity and heart health issues
- Diabetes, nerve damage and kidney failure: Stress increases blood sugar throughout the body, increasing the likelihood of developing a number of related diseases at some point in your lifetime
- Unbalanced production of the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol: When not properly regulated, these hormones can, over time, lead to depression, anxiety, insomnia and memory and concentration impairment
- Decreased production of anti-aging hormones: this, in turn, ages you faster
The VitaYears™ Way to Reduce Stress
Stress is no joke. We write about it regularly here. We aim to help you manage and reduce your stress levels by promoting a healthy lifestyle involving regular exercise and a well-balanced diet complete with high-quality nutritional supplements. Facing day-to-day responsibilities that fill you with anxiety and dread is not easy. But with a little help, up-to-date knowledge and the right nutraceuticals, anyone can mitigate stress and its side effects. Stay tuned.