“Stress Has Serious Health Consequences”

These days, it seems that many people are “stressed out.” Folks complain of being over worked, on the border of road rage or their kids are driving them crazy. On a daily basis, it seems that stress levels are on the rise. Chronic stress has been linked to weight gain, high blood pressure, and heart disease or it may trigger a heart attack and the onset of dementia. Stress is believed to be a factor in polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is a condition caused by elevated androgens (male sex hormones), and can affect a woman’s menstrual cycles, fertility and weight. In man’s distant past, the stress response was a lifesaving physiological function, allowing us to run from predators or take down prey. Today, it appears to be hard to turn off the stress response and the stress hormones (such as cortisol) keep pumping. As people’s heart rate increases, they hyperventilate and their blood pressure goes up.  When stress becomes chronic, your immune system becomes increasingly desensitized to cortisol, and since inflammation is partly regulated by this hormone, this decreased sensitivity heightens the inflammatory response and allows inflammation to get out of control. Inflammation, in turn, is a hallmark of most diseases, from diabetes to heart disease, and cancer.

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