Health advice and news from Sutter Health’s Northern California experts. The latest on fitness, nutrition, menopause, disease prevention and more.
As if heart disease, foggy brain, belly fat, lack of sleep and fatigue aren’t enough – consider the fact that chronic stress can age you more quickly.
This is not just a feeling, but a physical fact revealed in a study on chronically stressed women. The women in the study were caring for disabled children (with autism, cerebral palsy and other serious, chronic conditions) and their telomeres, an accurate genetic marker for aging, were compared against a group of women whose children had no disabilities.
Deep, restful sleep is essential to our good health. But if you are continually stressed, your body constantly pulses out stress hormones. These stress hormones make it harder to fall asleep, and impair the deepest stages of sleep – Stages 3 and 4.
Stress can result in what is called “hyperarousal syndrome” – a state where your mind and body are more easily woken by sounds or by your own stressful thoughts. As we age, we are more prone to hyperarousal syndrome. Think of a baby or child who can sleep through anything – even being carried from the car into the house. Teenagers can also sleep very deeply, though they have stress in their lives. Their bodies are not as subject to hyperarousal syndrome. As adults, we are.
Movies may have have dramatized a person keeling over from a heart attack, due to a sudden, intense stress. While this could conceivably happen, it is extremely rare. The real danger to your heart is the accumulated impact of chronic stress and the chemical stew that it creates in the body.
Each of the top five risk factors for developing heart disease is directly affected by stress! This includes:
• Abnormal cholesterol levels
• High blood pressure
The recent outbreak of measles in the U.S. has spurred a huge amount of media coverage and endless debate in the social media realm. How might the current measles outbreak impact you – and what, if anything, should you be doing about it?
We asked Ross DeHovitz, M.D., a pediatrician with Palo Alto Medical Foundation, to answer these questions about the measles vaccine – and vaccinations in general.
Most people who get the measles will recover just fine, but will endure 4-8 days of misery. But for those who get complications, the outcome can be severe. One out of 1,000 cases will result in encephalitis – swelling of the brain. One to three out of 1,000 cases will develop respiratory and neurological complications. Overall, one out of 1,000 patients with measles will die. “This is a risk we just don’t reasonably take, when there is an easy method of prevention via the measles vaccine,” says Dr. DeHovitz.
This post begins our series on stress and your health, presented by Ronesh Sinha, M.D. Dr. Sinha has a particular focus on improving the health of the South Asian population, particularly those working in sedentary, high-pressure occupations. But this series applies to anyone – any age, occupation, ethnic or cultural background. The vital role of stress in your overall health cannot be overstated.
Follow this blog series to learn about:
As early humans, the stress response was perfectly designed to keep us alive and safe from danger, including predators that were out to eat us! The stress response is designed to rev the body up for a quick getaway or a battle: the “flight or fight” response.