Stress & Your Body – Part 2

Let’s talk a little more about how prolonged stress can lead to chronic inflammation. As I said before, it can lead to a variety of diseases. This means that handling stress at a basic level is crucial to achieving optimal health.

The human body was made to handle stress with specific reactions or “phases” called the General Adaptation Syndrome — a term coined by Hans Selye MD PhD back in the 1950’s. Most of us also know it as the “fight or flight” mode your body goes into when faced with a stressful situation. One old age example of this is being chased by a tiger; if you survive, your system returns to normal. However, these days the sources of our stress can be ongoing (family/financial issues, work deadlines, etc.), which makes it almost impossible to turn this mode off. This taxes the entire HPA axis (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis) — I’ll go more in depth on that part later.

There are three phases that occur during the General Adaptation Syndrome. The first phase is called the alarm phase — whether it’s being faced with a tiger, traffic, an argument, etc. Usually, the situation is dealt with, and the body returns to normal. Phase two, which relates to prolonged stress, comes with the typical symptoms of feeling “wired and tired” — you wake up exhausted, have difficulty getting through the day, and crave sugar/salt/caffeine for energy. People who are stuck in the third phase, also known as the exhaustion phase, usually experience symptoms such as “chronic fatigue syndrome”, an inability to cope or adapt, mood swings, cognitive challenges, insomnia, etc.

I have specific tests and treatments that can be used to combat each phase of General Adaptation Syndrome. My main goal for you is to not mask the symptoms, but to help you achieve full recovery from stress-related issues.

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