Chronic Stress And Your Health: The Physical Symptoms Of Long-Term Stress

Everyone experiences stress from time to time. It is the body’s way of reacting to situations that are perceived as harmful, even if those situations are not actually dangerous. When we perceive a situation as potentially threatening, our bodies react by entering a fight-or-flight mode, which triggers a chemical reaction. This chemical reaction causes our hearts to race, our blood pressure to rise, and our muscles to tighten. In small doses, stress is actually helpful. After all, it’s that fight-or-flight reaction that allows you to swerve out of the way instead of hitting a broken-down car in the middle of the road. However, our bodies aren’t built to sustain long-term stress. In fact, chronic stress takes a toll on our bodies and often manifests in a variety of emotional, cognitive, and physical symptoms. Below, we will discuss some of the physical symptoms of stress.

physical symptoms of stress
The ability to achieve prolonged and restful sleep is an important component of health that is missing from those suffering from chronic stress.

Insomnia. One of the most common symptoms of stress is the inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep at night. Instead of relaxing and falling into a peaceful slumber, chronically stressed people stay awake into the wee hours of the night, unable to calm their racing minds. Stress can also cause frequent wake-ups, resulting in a disruptive night of sleep.

Frequent illnesses. It’s no coincidence that those back-to-back colds coincided with the big presentation you’ve been preparing for months. In fact, the two are likely directly related. Chronic stress weakens the body’s immune system, making us more susceptible to colds and infections.

Loss of libido. Perhaps you’ve attributed your lack of sexual desire to a natural part of the aging process. Loss of libido, however, is an extremely common symptom of long-term stress. When our bodies are constantly being pumped full of the stress hormone cortisol, sexual desire fizzles.

Low energy. Loss of energy and stress are related in a number of ways. First, insomnia is a common symptom of chronic stress. When you’re not getting restorative sleep at night, low energy is typically the result. Additionally, stress causes a weakened immune system, which results in low energy levels. Finally, the body exhausts itself by existing in a perpetual fight-or-flight mode, which often results in lowered energy.

Teeth clenching and grinding. Stress causes many people to grind and clench their teeth — sometimes unknowingly, and sometimes while sleeping. Chronic teeth clenching and grinding leads to headaches, ringing in the ears, dizziness, and can even damage the teeth.

If you recognize some of these physical symptoms associated with long-term stress in your life, you should realize that you are able to lower the stress levels in your life, and ease these symptoms. Are you ready to take control of your life and your health? Contact me to learn how I can help you achieve a less stressful life.

Andropause: Is Male Menopause Real?

While andropause is not recognized by the World Health Organization as a clinical disorder, order the fact remains that as men age, site they naturally experience decreased testosterone production. This usually starts when men are in their 40s, with testosterone levels continuing to decrease as a man ages.

Testosterone serves as a building block for creating protein, and is necessary for a normal sex drive. It also plays a part in bone formation and hepatic function. When testosterone levels begin to decline in men, they may experience a variety of symptoms, some of which include decreased sex drive, depression, poor concentration, fatigue and even insomnia.

andropause
A healthy and active lifestyle goes a long way to improving testosterone production.

While some practitioners encourage the use of testosterone to combat these symptoms, testosterone supplementation is a proven cause of increased adverse cardiovascular effects.  Testosterone supplementation may also worsen sleep apnea and accelerate prostate-cancer growth.

Andropause can actually be treated through effective and natural methods, in order to avoid the adverse side effects of testosterone supplementation.  An overall healthier lifestyle can do much to increase testosterone production.

One of the easiest ways of increasing testosterone levels is simply getting enough sleep. Lack of rest contributes to declining levels of testosterone, even in younger males.

Staying active helps maintain healthy testosterone levels. In fact, testosterone production increases in direct proportion to physical activity. Overall, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a healthy weight is key in increasing testosterone production.

Stress can also reduce testosterone levels. Males of any age group can benefit from improved coping mechanisms and natural remedies to limit the effects of stress.

Finally, certain medications, such as opiates and steroids, can lead to decreased testosterone.

Unlike females, who experience a complete shutdown of the reproductive system after a certain age, males experience a decline, and still retain 50% of their testosterone secretion after age 80. Therefore, pursuing more natural remedies for andropause is important, especially when one considers the negative effects of hormone replacement.

For more information on the healthiest ways to treat andropause, please contact me.

7 Simple Stress Busters For Work

No matter what you do for a living, there will always be times of work-related stress. Even the best work environments have their share of hectic days, heavy workloads, and high demands on your time and energy. When you are having one of those demanding days, try one of these seven stress busters, that are ideal for while you are at work:

stress busters at work
Managing your stress levels at work can be as easy as giving yourself the small breaks, and healthy food that you deserve.

1. Approach your day with a pep talk, and resolve to stay positive. Attitude really matters, and you absolutely have control over your own. Gravitate toward positive influences, and when you encounter your colleagues, remember to smile and to give them some encouragement, too. Remind yourself that you have everything under control. Your confident spirit will lift you and those around you.

2. Have a plan. And a back-up plan. Your plan will keep you focused on the top priorities, and building some flexibility into your plan will help you to readjust and stay productive when the unexpected happens.

3. Remember to move. When your focus and energy are fading, get up and move around for a few minutes. Take a walk outside during your break. Stretch and clear your head. Use the copier that is furthest from your work space. Take the stairs. Take a walking meeting, or sit outside instead of in the conference room. You will feel refreshed and ready to re-engage in your work.

4. Take care of yourself by staying hydrated and eating healthy snacks. Drink water infused with your favorite fruit. Choose high-protein snacks that will give you energy, like almonds, or a slice of cheese. Avoid the processed, high-sugar treats. While a bit of chocolate might be just the ticket, don’t overdo it.

5. Remember to breathe. Slowly. In through the nose, out through the mouth.

6. Play your favorite music. Either listen to soothing music quietly in the background or on your ear buds while taking that short, head-clearing walk. Music can help you focus and refresh.

7. When you leave the office, actually leave it behind. When you’re home, take some time to connect with family and friends. Take care of yourself by exercising, reading a book, or engaging in another favorite activity. Don’t neglect the people and passions that matter most to you. Your work will seem more fulfilling and less stressful the more you are able to balance it with the rest of your life.

If you would like help in balancing your work and home lives, please contact me.

Understanding Bioidentical Hormones

bioidentical hormones
Many women are choosing alternatives to synthetic HRT for help with their menopausal symptoms.

While hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is considered the most effective treatment for menopausal symptoms, there are several reasons why women choose not to use traditional, or synthetic, HRTs. Some women are concerned about the links between oestrogen and breast cancer. Others find the side effects, such as bleeding or tenderness of the breast, difficult to handle. Some women view menopause as a normal passage of life, and not as a disease that needs to be cured. As a result of not using synthetic HRT, these women have experienced hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, sleeplessness, and other menopausal symptoms.

Today, more and more women are turning to natural remedies for their menopausal symptoms. This interest in natural approaches to HRT has focused attention on bioidentical hormone therapy, which is usually referred to as natural hormone therapy. Bioidentical hormones are produced in a laboratory, based on compounds found primarily in soya beans and yams. After processing, the plant-based hormone’s structure is identical to, and acts the same as, the oestrogen, progesterone, or androgen hormones produced by women’s bodies.

These hormones re-establish the body’s hormonal balance naturally. Because the laboratory-produced hormones’ structures are identical to the body’s hormones, bioidentical HRT is not known to cause the unpleasant side effects associated with synthetic HRT. Additionally, bioidentical hormones offer other health benefits, including:

  • osteoporosis prevention by improving bone density
  • improved cholesterol levels
  • mood balance
  • reduced risk of heart disease
  • proper body mass maintenance
  • improved sleep
  • boosted energy levels

To learn more about the benefits of bioidentical hormone therapy and whether it’s the right option for you, please contact me.

The Dangers Of Oestrogen Imbalances

oestrogen
While most commonly seen in meopausal women, oestrogen imbalances can affect women as early as in their 30s.

As women approach menopause, one of the most common issues they face is oestrogen overproduction. While oestrogen is an important component of fertility, an excess of the hormone has some unfortunate side effects. Some of the most common ones include increased risk of obesity, fluid retention, mood lability, and decreased energy levels.

Oestrogen imbalances in the female body begin long before menopause actually begins. Women in their 30s may already be experiencing the side effects of excess oestrogen as their progesterone levels decrease, developing painful uterine fibroids and breast cysts.

Some of the more serious side effects of increased oestrogen levels include both endometrial cancer and breast cancer. Oestrogen can also negatively influence thyroid hormone levels and interfere with blood clotting mechanisms, leading to an increased risk of stroke.

Many modern lifestyles increase the risk of women suffering from heightened oestrogen levels. Obesity, which is becoming a prevalent public health issue, leads to increased oestrogen production. Diets which contain excess sugar lead to chemical imbalances, which make it more difficult for natural oestrogen to break down in the body. Pesticides in food sources share a common molecular structure with oestrogen, which causes the body to produce even more oestrogen when women consume foods containing pesticides. Finally, the increased use of oestrogen supplementation during, before, and after menopause may lead to an overwhelming surplus of the hormone in women’s bodies.

By the time a woman reaches menopause naturally, hormonal and environmental sources have already bombarded her body with excess oestrogen. This makes it all the more crucial for women dealing with premenopausal, perimenopausal, and menopausal side effects to use natural remedies for their symptoms, as opposed to synthetic ones.

For more information on the best and safest ways to deal with the difficulties of menopause and hormonal imbalances, please contact me.