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Stress

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Stress contributes to as many as 80% of all major diseases

         



Definition
Causes
Symptoms
Diagnosis
Prevention and Treatment
Naturopathic Approach
Final Notes


Definition:
Any disturbance, physical (such as heat, cold, chemical toxin, microorganism, physical trauma) or psychological
(like an emotional reaction) that upsets the body’s natural balance and can trigger
the “stress response” (explained in detail below).
Excessive stress, either physical or mental, has a detrimental effect on the optimal function of the body. 
How an individual handles stress plays a major role in determining their level of health.

According to many physicians stress has surpassed the cold virus as the most common health problem in North America.


Causes:
 
There are many types of stressors that affect us daily:
noise, crowded cities, polluted environment, lack of exposure to the sun, driving, pathogens, a lack of joy in life,
abuse, excessive alcohol consumption, school, smoking, negative emotions, loneliness, physical illness,
pressures and deadlines at work, overwork, lack of sleep, problems with loved ones, the need to pay the bills,
the effort to succeed, to have more and do more have all contributed to many of our health problems.


Symptoms:
insomnia, depression, fatigue, headache, upset stomach, digestive disturbances (changes in appetite), memory loss,
low self-esteem, withdrawal, tooth-grinding, cold hands, high blood pressure, nervous twitches, low sexual drive,
and irritability.


Diagnosis: 
It is based on a professional comprehensive clinical evaluation.
To determine the role that stress may play the “social readjustment rating scale” developed by Holmes& Rahe
may be utilized. This scale was designed to predict the risk of a serious disease due to stress.
Various life-changing events are numerically rated according to their potential for causing a disease.
If a person is under a great deal of stress or has endured significant stress over several months or more,
it is appropriate to more accurately assess adrenal and thyroid function with laboratory tests.


Prevention and treatment:
To fully understand how to combat stress, it is important to understand the stress response, this is composed of
three phases: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion.

These phases are regulated by the adrenal glands.
The initial phase the alarm reaction is the “fight or flight response” which is triggered by the secretion of adrenaline
by the adrenal glands.
This phase is designed to counteract danger by mobilizing the body’s resources for immediate physical activity.
As a result the heart rate and the contraction of the heart increases to provide blood to areas necessary for response to
the stressful situation.

The next phase, the resistance reaction allows the body to continue fighting a stressor.
Hormones such as cortisol and other corticosteroids are secreted by the adrenal cortex in order to stimulate
the conversion of protein to energy long after glucose stores are depleted, and to promote the retention of sodium
to keep blood pressure elevated.
As well as providing the necessary energy and circulatory changes required to deal effectively with stress,
the resistance reaction provides the changes required for meeting emotional crisis, performing strenuous tasks
and fighting infection.
While the effects of adrenal cortex hormones are necessary when the body is faced with danger,
prolongation of the resistance reaction (due to continued stress) increases the risk of disease
(particularly diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer). 

This leads to exhaustion, which manifests as a partial or total collapse of a body function or specific organs.

Prolonged stress places a tremendous load on the heart, blood vessels, adrenals, and the immune system and
is associated with many common diseases such as:
Angina (chest pain)
Asthma
Autoimmune diseases ( lupus, vitiligo, rosacea, etc)
Cancer
Cardiovascular diseases
Common cold
Diabetes (adult onset)
Depression
Headaches
Hypertension
Immune suppression
Irritable bowel syndrome
Menstrual irregularities
Premenstrual tension syndrome
Rheumatoid arthritis
Ulcers and Ulcerative colitis


Naturopathic Approach
This information is provided for general understanding only. 
As every case is different, it is important to consult with a professional in order to tailor the modalities,
intensities and duration of treatment to an individual’s unique situation. 

Nutritional evaluation (support the biochemistry of the body)

Dietary guidelines: eliminate or restrict the intake of caffeine, alcohol and refined carbohydrates.
Eat regular meals in a relaxed environment and eat whole foods.

Control food allergies

Vitamins and minerals appraisal; support adrenals with vitamin C, B6, zinc, magnesium and pantothenic acid.

Botanical medicines: Chinese ginseng and Siberian ginseng exert beneficial effects on adrenal function.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is found to be effective for the treatment of mind-body disorders, such as stress and anxiety,
chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, hypertension, insomnia, PMS, menopausal symptoms, and depression.
For more information check the acupuncture seccion.

Homeopathy:

In homeopathic medicine ailments such as food allergy, hypoglycemia, high blood pressure, asthma and
digestive disorders are regarded as being manifestations of stress, so treatment is likely to be long-term and constitutional;
however, in acute circumstances, some  remedies may be useful, according to a person's circumstances.

Counseling in lifestyle factors:
Identify emotional, organic (physiological) sources of stress in your life.
Identify patterns to cope with stress, eliminate negative ones and replace them with positive ways of coping.
People under stress often develop response patterns that do not support good health including such things as overeating, overspending, and dependence on drugs, alcohol or smoking.

Regular exercises to calm the mind and the body: breathing exercise, meditation, yoga and visualization.


Final Notes
Stress in itself should not be viewed in a negative context.
It is not the stressor that determines the response; instead it is the individual’s internal reaction,
which then triggers the response.
What one person may experience as stress, the next person may view entirely differently.
Some people create their own stress; whether there is anything objectively wrong in their lives or not,
they find things to worry about.
Long-term stress increases susceptibility to illness and slow healing.


To discuss your situation in more detail:
Contact Dr. Comas
tel: (416) 515-8493
e-mail: Dr-Comas@NaturalMedicineSolutions.com

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