Stress

Stress is bumper-to-bumper traffic when you're in a hurry. It's a worrisome illness, an argument with your partner, a job turning sour. It's the need to care for an ailing parent and a pile of unpaid bills.

Stress has many faces, and creeps into our lives from many directions. No matter what causes it, stress puts the body and the mind on edge. It floods the body with stress hormones. The heart pounds. Muscles tense. Breathing quickens. The stomach churns.

The body's response to stress was honed in our prehistory. Collectively called the "fight-or-flight" response, it has helped humans survive threats like animal attacks, fires, floods, and conflict with other humans. Today, obvious dangers like those aren't the main things that trigger the stress response. Any situation you perceive as threatening, or which requires you to adjust to a change, can set it off. And that can spell trouble.

Chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. It can dampen the immune system, increasing susceptibility to colds and other common infections. It can contribute to asthma, digestive disorders, cancer, and other health problems. New research even supports the notion that high levels of stress somehow speed up the aging process.

Though stress is inevitable, you can help control your body's response to it. Exercise, meditation, invoking the relaxation response, and mindfulness are great stress busters.

Stress Articles

Fighting fatigue

Fatigue is a common symptom that can be caused by a whole host of factors, from medical conditions to stress and poor sleep. In order to ease ongoing fatigue, it’s important to investigate and treat the underlying cause. Fatigue that doesn’t respond to interventions or is severe or persistent should be brought to the attention of a doctor. It may be caused by a medical condition. (Locked) More »

Obesity is still on the rise among American adults

American adults are gaining weight, according to data from the CDC. The prevalence of obesity is still on the rise, and in 12 U.S. states, 35% of the population is now obese, compared with just six states in 2017 and nine states in 2018. More »

Unlocking the mystery of chronic pelvic pain syndrome

Chronic pelvic pain syndrome—also known as chronic prostatitis—is one of the most puzzling conditions for older men. Because the cause is unknown and there is no defined strategy for treatment, doctors often take a trial-and-error approach to managing the common symptoms like pain, sexual dysfunction, and urination problems. These include different types of medication, physiotherapy, stress management, exercise, and diet modification. (Locked) More »

A silent condition may be taking a toll on your health

Prediabetes is a common condition, and often goes undetected. People with this condition have a number of health risks, including a greater chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke. In addition, they are more likely to develop diabetes, which can lead to additional health problems, such as kidney disease and a higher rate of infection. Testing for prediabetes can find the condition early and potentially prevent it from progressing to diabetes. (Locked) More »

Don’t get upset about indigestion

It’s common for indigestion to become more frequent and severe with age, a condition called chronic dyspepsia or recurring indigestion. While most flare-ups can be treated with over-the-counter remedies, people can stop recurring problems by adopting lifestyle measures, such as reducing stress, avoiding excess alcohol, quitting smoking, losing extra weight, and eating smaller meals. (Locked) More »

Stop counting calories

Experts are learning that the old idea of calories in, calories out, isn’t necessarily accurate or the best way to lose weight. Even careful calorie calculations don’t always yield uniform results. How a person’s body burns calories depends on a number of factors, including the type of food eaten, metabolism, and even the presence of certain gut microorganisms. The truth is that two people can eat the exact same number of calories and have very different outcomes when it comes to weight. More »

Worries on your mind

People who worried a lot about the future or repetitively thought about unchangeable past events were more likely to experience a significant decline in cognitive function and memory in a 2020 study. People with these negative thinking patterns also had more beta-amyloid and tau protein deposits in the brain, which can be a sign of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. It’s possible, study authors said, that these negative thinking patterns raise stress hormone levels, which may lead to changes in the brain. (Locked) More »

The mental side of cardiac rehab

Recovery from a heart attack, heart failure, angioplasty, or heart surgery often involves cardiac rehabilitation. While it’s normal to have some anxiety and stress after a heart-related issue, dealing with these issues and treating even more significant problems such as depression can affect people’s recovery success and increase their risk of future problems. (Locked) More »