Chronic Stress Can Kill You – Learn How to Fight Back
Stress is a normal part of life. It happens to everyone. As humans, our bodies are designed to react to stress to preserve life. When stress is encountered, our adrenaline and cortisol levels spike, our muscles tense, and our heart and respiratory rates increase. And those are just a few of the reactions that occur with stress. Following a stressful event, the body normalizes, and all is well. Stress becomes a problem when it is chronic, and the body doesn’t have the chance to come down from the events that triggered it. Chronic stress can wreak havoc on the body and contribute to many health problems. In this post, we’ll share how stress impacts the body and what you can do to manage stress in your daily life.
The Negative Impact of Chronic Stress on the Body
While we aren’t running from lions and other threats like our ancestors, we are subjected to other forms of daily stress. From managing deadlines and taking care of the family to paying bills and volunteering, these everyday hassles add up and can cause us to feel like we’re constantly under attack. In small doses, our bodies can come down from these minor attacks. But when we are constantly bombarded with stressors, our body stays in a constant state of fight or flight and becomes overexposed to cortisol and other stress hormones. When this occurs, you’re at risk of many health problems, such as:
- Anxiety and depression
- Digestive problems
- Heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke
- Memory and concentration
- Muscle tension and pain
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain
The snowball effect of stress can often result in several health problems occurring simultaneously. For example, chronic muscle tension has been linked to causing headaches and migraines. Not getting enough quality sleep can lead to poor concentration and memory. An overexposure of cortisol can impact metabolism, often leading to weight gain.
How to Cope with Stress
At OnePeak Medical, our goal is to understand the underlying cause of stress and develop strategies for overcoming it. We don’t put a band-aid on your concerns. We aim to fix them for good. First, we must understand what’s going on in your body.
One great way to measure the impact of stress on your body is through bloodwork. Depending on your needs, we may order a blood panel to understand what’s happening in your body. Based on our findings, we can prescribe lifestyle changes, therapies, supplements, and more. Your functional medicine provider may also include our skilled fitness and nutrition advisers in your treatment. If they become a part of your care team, they will work with you to develop tools and strategies for helping you fuel and strengthen your body so it performs optimally.
We are facing a healthcare crisis in America. Not only are we facing an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the long-term adverse effects of the virus, but we are also facing a mental health crisis. Getting back to the basics and taking time for play, laughter, outdoor activities, and mindfulness are excellent ways to negate the effects of stress. Your primary care provider is your partner in this journey, and we want to help you in any way we can. If you’re struggling with stress or know someone who is, seek help as soon as possible. Your (or their) long-term health depends on it. Schedule an appointment today.