Stress is the genesis of eighty percent of all doctors’ visits. Stress produces several hormones. All of them can kill you.
Adrenaline is well known. It is known as the ‘fight or flight‘ hormone. It is produced in your adrenal glands. It is that hormone that you feel when you are suddenly stressed – heart pounding, tense muscles, faster breathing, and sweating. It provides that surge of energy needed to fight or flee.
Norepinephrine is another stress hormone. It makes your more aware, more awake, more focused. It tweaks our senses to be more responsive if needed. It shifts blood away from places in our bodies where it might not be needed if we must make a quick run from a stressful event. It acts like a backup system to adrenaline.
Cortisol is commonly known at the stress hormone. It is also produced in your adrenal glands. It is not a speed hormone like the two previous. It takes time to build up. This is because two other hormones are needed to get it released into your body. It maintains fluid balance and blood pressure.
We live in a stressful world. The hormones work as advertised. We need them to be ready to fight or flee a situation where our life might be on the line. However, in our modern society, we live every day full of stress. Over time, it is not healthy. It literally stresses our bodies by suppressing our immune system, increasing our blood pressure and increasing our waistline.
It’s not the stress, but our reaction to the stress. If the stress falls like water off a duck’s back, then we retain very little of that stress. But, that is not the norm for most of us. We live with it, take it to bed with us, and share it with friends and family.
Long-term stress can kill in many ways. With a depressed immune system, you are susceptible to many diseases you could normally fight off. With high blood pressure, cardiovascular risks increase. With obesity, it is the icing on the cake for disastrous health.
We react differently to stress when other hormones get involved – estrogen, dopamine, serotonin, and testosterone, for example. It’s not a one player system – everybody gets involved and makes it extremely difficult to cope. Chemical levels that should disappear in hours might take days.
You are in control of your stress management. Manage it well – daily, several times a day.