Medical research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggests that up to 90% of all illness and disease is stress-related. It is estimated that 75-90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually and more then 43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress. Stress is literally tearing our health apart, yet it isn’t something discussed at routine medical exams nor is healthy stress management practices something that is incorporated into most medical treatment plans. We are beginning to see some positive movement, with stress management techniques being suggested and practiced for cardiology patients, but what about all the other illness caused and complicated by un-treated stress? This is where healthy stress management practices become essential in living a naturally balanced and holistic lifestyle.
Most of us continue to increase the amount of stress we experience on a daily basis without really looking at or understanding how it is affecting our general health and well being. We know, through medical research, that prolonged and untreated stress has an extremely powerful and negative effect on health and well being. Untreated being the key word. Biologically stress actually begins to tear apart and wear out your body from the inside out. During stressful periods of time, the inside of your body is actually up to 32 years older than your calendar age! That would mean that if you are 35 years old, your heart, lungs and brain, during stressful periods of time, are close to 70 years old! How long and well will a 70 year old heart last as compared to a 35 year old heart? How about a 70 year old brain? Not nearly as long and not nearly as effectively. In a nutshell, stress ages your body rapidly, very rapidly. Prolonged stress can alter the body’s immune system in ways that are associated with other “aging” conditions such as frailty, functional decline, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, inflammatory arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Research also suggests that stress impairs the brain’s ability to block certain toxins and other large, potentially harmful molecules a condition common in Alzheimer’s Disease. Stress can also intensify symptoms of autoimmune type conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. It also affects headaches, your risk of stroke and irritable bowel syndrome. The best way to deal with stress is to implement healthy stress management practices into your daily life.
Here is Your Body on Stress:…
1. Shrinks Your Brain
Even for healthy people, stressful moments can take a toll on the brain, a new study from Yale University suggests.
Researchers reported in the journal Biological Psychiatry that stressful occasions can actually shrink the brain by reducing gray matter in regions tied to emotion and physiological functions. This is important because these changes in brain gray matter could signal future psychiatric problems and chronic degenerative brain diseases, researchers warned.
2. Increases Risk for Developing Chronic Disease
It’s not just the stress, but HOW YOU REACT TO IT, that could have an impact on your health in the future, according to a new study from Pennsylvania State University researchers.
Published in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine, the study found that people who were more stressed out and anxious about the stresses of everyday life were, in turn, more likely to develop chronic health conditions (such as heart problems or arthritis) 10 years later, compared with people who viewed things in a more relaxed way. Feeling anxious and stressed is linked with a 27 percent higher risk of heart attack — the same effect smoking five cigarettes a day has on the heart, the New York Daily News reported.