Why are we all so stressed and what does it mean? Surprising to many, stress is actually a hormone, specifically known as cortisol. It is released into the body when someone is placed in an uncomfortable, tough or dangerous situation or when someone experiences a change in their environment. Some examples of this include a heavy workload, problems at home, family issues, and financial trouble. These changes cause cortisol to be released which can affect you mentally, emotionally and physically. According to WebMd.com, 43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress. And according to stress.org, 55% of Americans are stressed, 20% higher than the world average.
Some may not realize that although stress may start as an emotion, it can cause damage to your body. This damage includes headaches, chest pain,and trouble sleeping. High cortisol levels may result in liver or kidney disease, weight gain, and depression. It can also cause a hormonal imbalance, which could lead to more serious health problems. In a study published on Nuerology.org, they found that “Higher serum cortisol was associated with lower brain volumes and impaired memory in asymptomatic younger to middle-aged adults, with the association being evident particularly in women.” This means that stress and high cortisol levels may cause you memory and cognitive issues starting as early as age 40.
Furthermore, high cortisol levels and physical changes in the brain in the test subjects were connected to precursors in Alzheimer's disease, which destroys memory and mental functions.
Luckily, there has also been research done to show that certain things like improved sleep, exercise, and relaxation can lower cortisol levels and reduce stress. There are many other ways to relieve stress naturally as well. Drinking certain teas like chamomile and lavender can help you relax and stay calm in times when your stress levels are rising. Using lavender around your home either in plant form or as an essential oil can make your personal space a stress free zone.
You can also take supplements to help relieve stress. These supplements include melatonin to help with sleep, magnesium to help with nerve and muscle function, valerian root used to commonly treat insomnia, anxiety, and stress, and vitamin b-complex which aids in cell metabolism. Another option is to try meditation or yoga. Both meditation and yoga allow you to release any negative feelings, or any outside influences that are causing you stress - it also helps you focus on the present and bring awareness to your breathing. You can additionally keep up a regular exercise routine which can help you blow off steam when things are getting a little too hard to handle. Finally, always make sure to get plenty of sleep and spend your free time doing the things you enjoy.
You can also try hormone replacement therapy for men and women to help with stress and hormonal imbalance. This treatment can help lower cortisol levels and get you back on track if you are unable to relieve stress and reduce cortisol levels on your own. HRT incorporates individualized doses of hormones that emulate nearly identically those each patient had as a younger woman or younger man and it is a great solution to many health problems. At LongevityMed, your health is our priority. We can help you get on the right path to better health through lifestyle changes, nutrition recommendations, and supplementation, as well as hormone replacement therapy. It's what we do, every day, and our specialty. Contact us today for a free consultation and to get started on your journey to better health.