Constant stress has become almost the norm for many people. But not all people care about prevention, believing that nothing bad will happen to their body. Meanwhile, scientists have long proven the role of stress factors in provoking heart and vascular diseases, diabetes and bone pathologies (formation of osteoporosis). In addition, stress is an important risk factor for the development of stomach or intestinal ulcers, and can significantly disrupt sleep and metabolic processes. All this in a complex negatively affects health, reducing life expectancy and provoking chronic diseases.
The role of stress factors in impaired bone density
Bone loss, increased risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis can be caused by chronic stress and excess cortisol levels. As a result, the bones become brittle, pathological fractures can occur from the slightest injury. It is known to those skilled in the art that steroid drugs cause loss of bone mass. Stress factors also affect in a similar way, changing the ratio of steroid hormones in the body.
Chronically elevated cortisol levels or non-drug subclinical hypercortisolism can also lead to increased bone loss and osteoporosis. It is important to take care of your health, protect yourself from the effects of physical and emotional stress, take calcium and magnesium to keep your bones strong.
Heart disease, depression, anxiety
Heart disease in older patients often coexists with diabetes and chronic stress. Acute and chronic stress with hormonal imbalance is definitely associated with cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, heart attacks and atherosclerosis.
Chronic stress, with abnormally high or low cortisol levels, is a major cause of depression and anxiety. Other adrenal hormones that are involved in the process, such as low DHEA (dihydroepiandrosterone), progesterone, pregnenolone, testosterone or estrogen, also worsen mood and lead to depression, anxiety, irritability, poor concentration, and a higher risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. .
An imbalance of these hormones and a disruption in the functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary system can lead to a feeling of constant weakness or fatigue, clouding of consciousness, forgetfulness, or decreased performance.
Mechanisms of influence of stress
Recent studies show that when people with Alzheimer’s are exposed to stress, an active response to cortisol actually causes an increase in the synthesis of amyloid plaques, which will provoke brain damage. It is assumed that the basis of Alzheimer’s disease is also associated with dysfunction of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system.
Research shows that having adequate levels of DHEA in the body is critical for those suffering from clinical depression. DHEA helps counter the effects of high cortisol. Research data shows that people with depression who received a DHEA supplement responded better to treatment overall, whether or not antidepressants were used.
Depression can result from stress and dysfunction of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, as cortisol levels tend to rise at night rather than in the morning. The adrenal glands produce cortisol, but at the wrong time in the daily cycle.
Pathologies of the digestive tract, ulcer formation
Chronic stress and elevated cortisol damage the lining of the digestive tract. This leads to the fact that patients suffer from a specific leaky gut syndrome or increased intestinal permeability. Exacerbation of food allergies and food or drug intolerances may occur. The development of irritable bowel syndrome is a consequence of high stress and elevated cortisol, affecting the lining of the digestive tract.
Ulcers in the stomach and small intestine may also occur. Chronic stress disrupts the blood supply to the mucosa, reduces the synthesis of protective factors, due to which an ulcer can develop. In addition, the synthesis of stomach acid increases, and small erosions that form on the mucosa do not epithelize, but only progress, eventually forming ulcers.
There may be a problem and a violation of bile secretion caused by stress, or acid dyspepsia.
Stress management: the role of sleep, nutrition and daily routine
The effects of chronic stress are often ignored until the illnesses escalate and the person is admitted to the hospital. Meanwhile, you need to always monitor your health, observing the regime of work and rest, eating right and replenishing the loss of minerals and vitamins.
First of all, adequate sleep is absolutely essential. It is impossible to eliminate stress and adrenal dysfunction if the quantity or quality of sleep is disturbed. Going to bed before midnight, and ideally after 10 pm, is crucial. Those with severe fatigue and adrenal exhaustion should sleep until 8:00 or 9:00 am for full recovery. Good sleep can restore the disrupted 24-hour circadian rhythm based on the natural cycle of day and night. It is important to eliminate light exposure at night before and during sleep to help normalize the natural circadian rhythm and restore natural cortisol production in the morning.
Equally important is physical activity during the day to waste energy and suppress the synthesis of stress hormones. Regular physical training (fitness, gym, swimming or jogging) is useful, as well as walking before bed. Proper nutrition, refusal in the evening from stimulating drinks and foods (coffee, alcohol, soda with sugar) will help to supplement the program. Nutrition should contain natural antioxidants, anti-stress minerals and vitamins, easy to digest, without burdening the digestive system.
Cardiology. National guide / ed. E. V. Shlyakhto - 2015