Dr. Nedic writes about stress and its dangers…
Stress: The underestimated ‘Enemy’
In the past decade, stress has been a buzzword in virtually every disease. However, conventional medicine has never offered a firm explanation and a protocol for its management. Furthermore, people struggle to achieve personal stress management goals, as it’s rarely considered a priority in a daily busy schedule. This is partially due to the fact that they are not educated about the dangerous consequences of stress.
How alarming is this problem? Apart from numerous American statistics labelling stress as a leading cause of many modern epidemics, in my experience, 99% of my patients coming for various concerns rate their extreme stress level at nine and 10 on a 10-point scale.
“Modern” stressors have evolved over the years, due to an increase in a “high-tech” lifestyle, Internet use and the pressure of having to achieve an elite socio-economic status. In addition, the typical “old” stressors – psychological problems such as divorce, death, migration, etc. – still exist. However, nutritional, electromagnetic and environmental toxicity exacerbate the situation.
The biological reaction “ fight or flight”, which should be reserved for occasional stress situations, nowadays becomes a state of prolonged response to stress – in fact, it never stops!
Stress response involves our brain, neuroendocrine system, hormones and almost every part of our body, with accent on adrenal glands. A normal amount of adrenalin is there to support the body in dangerous situations, and cortisol, in essence, is a helper hormone. However, if we don’t apply anti-stress interventions, the cortisol becomes a “hazardous” hormone that is either too much, or inadequate, for the required demand.
For instance, the normal function of cortisol during dangerous situations is to temporarily suppress the immunity and increase blood sugar levels to feed muscles. With persistent stress, this can lead
to frequent infections and insulin resistance, with abdominal obesity. In fact, altered cortisol levels (too high / too low) can eventually lead to many diseases, such as cardio-metabolic syndrome, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, Hashimoto thyroiditis, breast and other cancers, leaky gut syndrome, depression and obesity.
Stress also appears to be related to Alzheimer’s disease, as it triggers a degenerative process in the brain by disrupting the neuroendocrine and immune system. In my female patients, I often see hormonal deregulation of progesterone, DHEA and testosterone in chronic stress. No wonder these patients have low libido, fibroids, endometriosis and autoimmunity!
Chronic stress is a silent killer and needs to be taken seriously.There is no simple remedy for complex body dysfunction due to persistent stress. This problem should be addressed with an integrative medical practitioner. There are sophisticated tools that enable us to investigate the level of stress, and adrenal, neuroendocrine and immunity problems. As a complement to this, a particular nutrition plan, phytonutrients, hormones, destress techniques and sleep hygiene suggestions will be prescribed in a personalised manner. It takes numerous months and committed patient participation to combat the dangerous effects of stress.