Home remedies for cold and flu symptoms
Try these home remedies to fight cold and flu symptoms.
Busy schedules, family conflicts, health concerns, financial woes — these and other issues can lead to an overwhelming feeling of stress. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, close to 80 percent of American adults report they feel stressed. And at least one-third of those say that their stress levels are on the rise.
However, Dr. Kathlyn Ignacio, an internal medicine specialist with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, says that stress actually serves a very specific purpose. “We need stress,” she says. “When we are in danger, we have an elevated level of stress for our ‘fight or flight’ mechanism, which allows us to respond quickly and make decisions to enhance our survival.”
According to Dr. Ignacio, during stressful times, your stress hormones — such as cortisol and epinephrine — rise, revving up your system to be able to respond to stressful circumstances. Unfortunately, too much stress and the resulting release of stress hormones can have a detrimental effect not only on your emotional health, but on your physical health, as well.
“The list is endless,” says Dr. Ignacio. “Too much stress can impact multiple systems and even lead to an early demise.”
According to Dr. Ignacio, stress can affect your body in a range of ways, from hair loss to impaired immune response and more, including:
Lack of energy
Increased or decreased nutrition, leading to weight gain or loss
Acne, hives and other skin problems
Muscle and joint aches
Tension, especially in the neck, shoulders and back
Reduced bone density
Rapid or labored breathing
Change in heart rate, rise in blood pressure and increased risk of heart attack and heart disease
Nausea, stomach pain and heartburn
Increased risk of diabetes
Digestion problems, diarrhea and constipation
Decreased sex drive
Painful and irregular menstruation in women
Impotence in men
Each of these physical results of stress takes a toll on all of the body’s systems, including muscular, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous and reproductive systems. While we’re often more focused on the emotional toll of stress, the greater danger might just lie in the physical toll.
Fortunately, Dr. Ignacio reports that there are ways to combat the effects of stress. These methods benefit both your mind and body:
Eat a balanced diet of mostly plant-based foods and avoid processed foods.
Get plenty of sleep — experts recommend adults get seven to nine hours of quality sleep per night.
Exercise on a daily basis. Yoga is an excellent option, as it incorporates stretching, flexibility, strengthening and breath work.
Practice mindfulness or meditation.
“Spending meaningful time with loved ones is important,” Dr. Ignacio says. “Fostering and nurturing relationships significantly helps to reduce stress.”
Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of stress, including irritability, a feeling of being overwhelmed, a change in eating or sleep habits, memory or concentration problems, and troubles at work or in your personal life. There are techniques for managing your stress on your own and medical treatments are available as needed.
For the news media: To talk with Dr. Kathlyn Ignacio about stress for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sharp Health News Team are content authors who write and produce stories about Sharp HealthCare and its hospitals, clinics, medical groups and health plan.
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