Stress...The Spice of Life!
Stress…the Spice of Life!
It might sound strange but stress might be considered the "spice of life!" It's that spark that primes us to face each day. There is a difference between stress we are able to handle and stress that gets out of hand-stress v. distress-may boil down to the balance of a hormone produced by your adrenal gland. We're overstressed when the pressures of modern life call our adrenal glands into action too often and can't keep up.
Double Duty…Stress and Hormonal Balance
Our bodies are pretty amazing when it comes to dealing with the challenges of everyday life. Sometimes, though, the demands get to be a little too much. Stress takes its toll and our bodies pay the price. Understanding what your body does under stress is important. That will help you understand how we can help you maintain the proper balance in your life-including the proper balance of an amazing stress hormone called cortisol.
Cortisol--Important? You Bet It Is!
Cortisol is a primary hormone secreted by your adrenal glands. It is the master stress hormone. Its function is to help your body deal effectively with stress. It assists in the regulation of blood glucose levels, protein, and fatty acids. It also helps control the functions of immune cells and your body's inflammatory response. In addition, it maintains your blood vessels and blood pressure, as well as connective tissues of bones, muscles and skin. And it contributes to your mood and your sense of overall well-being.
Small and Mighty, and Mighty Small
The adrenal glands are two tiny pyramid-shaped glands located on top of the kidneys. These essential glands release three different hormones-cortisol, adrenalin and DHEA. Over the course of a stressful day, the adrenal glands fine-tune your cortisol response to our particular needs.
As might be expected, when the levels of this essential hormone are either too high or too low, your body doesn't fire on all the cylinders. Too much or too little cortisol impacts the levels of other glands-particularly those that control the thyroid and testosterone.
"Older Than Them Are Hills"
In times of high stress our adrenal glands will go so far as to "raid" progesterone from its reproductive duties in order to produce extra cortisol. This can contribute to estrogen or progesterone imbalances. The result of constant high stress and cortisol imbalance is that we feel old before our time. It can sap your energy, affect your mood, deplete bone and muscle mass, and dull your sex drive.
Call to Arms
There is another ironic effect of high stress and cortisol imbalance. When we are under acute stress your body goes on the defensive. It sends white blood cells to the battle front. But unrelenting stress weakens our immune reserves and leaves you vulnerable to infection and illness. The tip-off to a cortisol imbalance may be when you can't rise to a physical challenge any longer but become weakened by it instead.
"Swing High, Swing Low, (not so) Sweet…"
Low cortisol is associated with chronic fatigue, asthma, susceptibility to illness and infection, arthritis, and fibromyalgia. Abnormally high cortisol levels causes muscle and bone loss, an increase in abdominal fat, elevated blood sugar levels, sugar cravings, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, suppressed immune function, memory loss, as well as mood and sleep disturbances.
Center of Attention
When your spine becomes misaligned, your nerves become irritated and the pathways can be partially blocked. That causes interference. Messages between your brain and organs do not flow freely back and forth or completely. This can have obvious negative effects on the proper function of your body's systems. When we perform a chiropractic adjustment, it begins to restore and reopen the neural pathways by putting the spine back into alignment. This promotes the optimal operation of the organs and processes. When proper nerve function is maintained your hormones levels are enhanced as well as other essential chemical interactions.
Smooth as Silk
Our approach is based on the understanding that your brain controls the intricate complexity of organs and processes throughout your body. It accomplishes this task by sending messages along the neural pathways that lie in the spinal cord and the peripheral nerves that exit the spine at every level. Then communication flows smoothly.
Are You At Risk?
Life in the fast lane makes us all candidates for adrenal imbalance. This is particularly true of single working parents, police officers, EMTs, middle-level executives, teachers, social workers, and anyone else in a high-stress job. If the symptoms described in this article seem to describe you, contact us to schedule a consultation.
The Winner's Circle
We can also help support overall health and bolster our body's natural abilities to deal with stress by engaging in habits that help maintain proper cortisol levels.