Chronic Stress – Modifiable Factors of Aging
What exactly is stress? Stress can come in many forms, it could be emotional stress, chemical stress (toxicity), electromagnetic stress, physical stress, or anything else that elicits a stress response in the body. It doesn’t matter what kind of stress you have, your body perceives them as all the same. Stress has many effects on the body. It can lower your immune system, increase your cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure. It can cause sexual dysfunctions, arthritis, heart disease, weight gain, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, cancer, as well as lower thyroid function and metabolism.
When you’re under stress your body switches into a fight or flight mode. When this takes place there are several physiological responses. You have a decrease of all noncritical processes. Your energy will be mobilized to your muscle. Digestion will be turned off (50 percent of people have digestive complaints), detoxification will be impaired, you have a decrease in cellular repair, and you will be placed in a catabolic (breaking down) state. This catabolic state will weaken all your systems.
Looking at the diagram you can see that there are three different states one can be in. You can be in a sick state. This is when your stress levels are higher then your resistance levels. You can be in an average state of health. This is when your stress levels and resistance levels are about equal. These are the people who feel good until something stressful happens, then they get symptoms. The last is a state of good health. This is when your resistance is much higher than your stress levels. This leaves you two choices; reduce stress, or increase resistance. The easiest one to do is to decrease stress. Unfortunately some of us are unable to do this, therefore we must increase resistance. This means you need to support your hypothalamic — pituitary — adrenal axis.