Stress is a fact of modern life. The stress rates among children and adults has consistently increased with each generation since the before the Baby Boomers. Current worldwide events is increasing the stress each level of society is undergoing. Stress comes from money, work, family responsibilities, health concerns and the economy, according to a study by the American Psychological Association in 2015.
Stress is often explained as the ‘fight or flight’ reflex, and it is supposed to be the body’s way of allowing quick response in times of danger. When the body interprets sensory input as ‘stressful’ or ‘threatening’, it releases cortisol and epinephrine. If we are running from a lion or fighting off an attacker, this is a good thing. It allows the body to perform in those quick response situations. When it is an effect that we are under all the time, it can cause serious problems with the body.
Cortisol is important in regulating how the body creates energy. It tells the body whether to create energy from carbohydrates, proteins or fats and that has a big effect on managing weight, the immune system and risk levels for diseases like diabetes.
Cortisol tells the body to get ready for action by flooding it with glucose to be used by the large muscles in the body like the legs for running. It keeps the level of insulin produced low so that the glucose will stay readily available. It also makes the arteries more narrow while the epinephrine speeds up how fast the heart pumps which forces the blood flow to be both faster and more forceful.
When the brain decides the risk is gone, the body would normally return to normal glucose and insulin production. The problem these days is that the brain doesn’t sense that risk is gone, we stay under constant attack to be prepared, cortisol levels stay high and our body stays flooded with glucose. This makes management of some type 2 diabetes cases much more difficult to manage.
It also may be linked to the increase in cases of type 2 diabetes in recent years. This critical stress bombardment of modern living creates a cycle of continuous cortisol with small windows of relaxation. Add to that the SAD (Standard American Diet) and there’s no surprise that diabetes type 2, hypertension and heart disease are on the rise.
Stress management is becoming more necessity than buzz word, and is a part of lifestyle changes that can help lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease and hypertension as well as keep your body’s natural immunity to illness in top form.
Some ways of lowering your body’s stress response sound simple, such as get more and better sleep. If you are under stress, you probably sigh and roll your eyes when some one tells you that, though. Simply wanting to get better sleep and knowing you need better sleep actually only adds stress to the body and increases the difficulty of actually getting sleep. The good news is, learning to sleep better is possible. So is lowering your stress level through learning effective time management, exercise, and even food choices.
Many of us think that once we reach a certain age or position we’ll finally be able to slow down and relax a little. The unavoidable truth is, by time you get to slow down you may have already damaged your health. Taking time now to learn skills for managing stress and its effects on your health is an important step in making sure you have a long and healthy future ahead of you.
If you have already been diagnosed as prediabetic or with prehypertension then now is the most important chance to reverse those conditions.
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