It’s safe to say we all experience stress in some form and to varying degrees in our lives.
Stress may come in various guises and be brought on by different factors, which include mental, physical, emotional, environmental, lifestyle and relationships.
Our body’s reaction to stress can determine the effect it has on our health.
What Happens When We Become Stressed?
Stress is likely to affect the entire body. Our immune system; cells and gut health are all interconnected, with a problem in one area having a negative effect on other areas of the body. As an example – IBS is commonly triggered by stress related disorders.
Nutrient absorption from food may be reduced; elimination of toxins hampered; sodium (salt) and calcium can build up in the body; magnesium and potassium levels may be depleted.
The adrenal glands, situated at the top of the kidneys, release the stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine. They also release an anti-inflammatory hormone – cortisol. Prolonged stress will elevate cortisol levels, which can result in inflammation.
Stress can also trigger a fight or flight type situation in our minds where muscles tense up and our heartbeat becomes faster.
Levels of the hormone serotonin (responsible for mood balance) can drop. Another hormone, aldosterone, is released when we get stressed. Aldosterone may cause sodium retention and raise blood pressure.