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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Stress and Your Health

Stress and Your Health

Myasthenia gravis a stress-related autoimmune disease.

Stress has become a serious health issue with each passing day. Nearly everyone is suffering from some kind of stress every day, whether it is the short-term stress that triggers the body to reach heightened awareness and preparation for action—what is known as the “fight-or-flight” response—or the devastating long-term chronic stress.

Stress is your body’s response to increased tension. Stress is normal. You need stress to do many things, such as accepting challenges, concentrating on doing a difficult task, and making important daily and life decisions, among others. Indeed, stress can be even conducive to your health, such as stress from having sex, which increases both your pulse rate and heartbeat, as well as stimulates your brain cells to keep your brain younger and healthier for longer. In many ways, stress can be enjoyable, such as the mental and physical challenge in competitive sports and games.

After the initial stress-induced stimuli, your body should be able to relax, slow down, and return to its original state of balance and equilibrium. If that does not happen, you may become distressed or over-stressed. Too much stress can also increase your production of hormone epinephrine, and thus wearing out your hormonal glands. Dysfunctional hormone production may lead to many health issues: your blood sugar elevation to produce more energy; your breathing rate acceleration to get more oxygen for your lungs; your muscle tension; your pulse rate and blood pressure increase; and your excess sweating to cool down your body, among many other health issues. In that respect, stress can be damaging to your overall health and wellness.

It is okay to stay slightly stressed every now and then, but avoid distress—which is alienation, anxiety, fear, frustration, and even depression. When stress continues over long periods of time, it may become chronic stress, which is harmful and damaging to the body, the mind, and the soul over the long haul.

Damage and Devastation of Stress

Chronic stress, which causes the body to maintain physiological reactions for long periods of time, especially with respect to the release of hormones, particularly DHEA (a hormone critical to anti-aging and longevity), can lead to depletion of vital nutrients in the body, vitamin C, and the B-complex vitamins.

During stress, the body overuses its DHEA supply, and thus impairing the normal functioning of its hormonal glands. According to scientific research, an individual’s DHEA levels decrease with age. Therefore, stress only adds insult to  injury in the aging process.

Another interesting study showed that men who meditate (an anti-stress mental strategy) regularly have significantly more DHEA than those who do not, and the difference is even much more significant in the case of women (maybe women do have more stress than men do).

Indeed, stress can accelerate the aging process. According to Robert Sapolsky, author of Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, people in general lose their capability to cope with stress as they continue to age, due to their tendency to have elevated blood pressure, which adversely affects hormone secretions. That is how stress can become a vicious circle.

If you wish to remain younger and healthier for longer, do not allow stress into your life.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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