Are You Affected by Stress?
By: Dr Darlene Ehlers, DC DABCI
Stress is everywhere. Good and bad. People are very busy and often do not have enough time to exercise, eat well, or obtain enough sleep. When a person does try to sleep, often they lay awake or sleep awhile, awaken and cannot go back to sleep. Stress can affect our digestive process also. We can eat and feel like the food doesn’t digest or just sits in our stomach, have diarrhea or constipation.
What does stress do to us and how, if we can, control our bodies when it happens?
Our body reacts to stress with a nervous system called the Sympathetic Nervous System. It originates in our spinal cord and functions to activate “fight or flight” response that keeps us from harm. When that happens, blood goes to our muscles and lungs so we can run or fight! It releases a neurotransmitters called norepinephrine or adrenaline. When the Sympathetic Nervous System is working, the Parasympathetic Nervous System doesn’t work for us as it should. Parasympathetic Nervous System’s main function is to have the body “rest and digest” or in other words: Relax
So the acute stress response can show in various ways such as: headaches, increase in blood pressure, increase in blood sugar called glucose, anxiety, insomnia, anger, excessive hunger, addictions to sugar and caffeine for energy, tight muscles, fatigue, shortness of breath, trouble swallowing, multitude of digestive complaints, weight gain, high blood fats, and even secondary depression. More dangerously, stress response that keeps happening over and over again seriously weakens our immune response. Health conditions and sickness can then develop because the body is spending too much energy dealing with stress, robbing energy from our defense, our immune system.
The two nervous systems get depleted. Testing that is common to denote a person’s stress response is to test Cortisol, one of several steroid hormones that is produced by the adrenal gland and Insulin, produced by the pancreas. Also balancing body chemistry by blood work testing to find specific mineral needs such as magnesium, zinc, and potassium which all help the body handle stress. Testing is needed to determine what nutritional and lifestyle advice is correct for each person. Everyone is different and our bodies handle stress differently.
Lifestyle changes to make that can buffer or help a person recover from stress and stressful events would be: Regular sleep habits and obtaining enough sleep; avoid or limit caffeine as that acts like adrenaline; limit to no sugar as that leads to blood sugar problems, dysinsulinism; plan regular recreation or hobby times; consume nutritious meals and snacks; take twenty minute walks four to five times a week; weight loss done properly; and finally, laughter and joy!
Can we control the physiology of the stress response or even control our stress? Sometimes we cannot but what we can do is REPAIR our bodies from stress in the past and then PREPARE them to handle stress more effectively.
What is a BIA?
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis or Bioimpedance Analysis (BIA) is a method of assessing your “body composition” — the measurement of body fat in relation to lean body mass. It is an integral part of a health and nutrition assessment.
Why Is Body Composition Important to My Health?
Research has shown that body composition is directly related to health. A normal balance of body fat is associated with good health and longevity. Excess fat in relation to lean body mass, known as altered body composition, can greatly increase your risks to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and more. BIA fosters early detection of an improper balance in your body composition, which allows for earlier intervention and prevention. BIA provides a measurement of fluid and body mass that can be a critical assessment tool for your current
state of health.
BIA also measures your progress as you improve your health. Improving your BIA measurement, or maintaining a healthy BIA measurement, can help keep your body functioning properly for healthy aging. Your BIA results can help guide us in creating a personalized dietary plan, including nutritional supplements when appropriate, and exercise to help you maintain optimal health and wellbeing for a lifetime.
How Does a BIA Work?
BIA is much more sophisticated than your bathroom scale, but just as simple — and almost as quick. BIA is performed in our office with the help of a sophisticated, computerized analysis.
This analyzer “calculates” and estimates your tissue and fluid compartments — using an imperceptible electrical current passed through pads placed on your hand and foot as you lie comfortably clothed on an exam table. In just minutes, we’ll have detailed measurements to help create an effective, personalized program for you.
We can conduct a series of follow-up BIA tests to monitor your health
and measure your progress.
Guidelines for Assessment
For the most accurate results, the following guidelines should be followed:
- Do not eat for 4 hours prior to testing.
- Do not exercise for 12 hours prior to testing.
- Do not consume alcohol for 24 hours prior to testing.
- Drink at least 1 quart of water one hour before your test.
- Do not drink caffeine the day of your test.
- Do not wear pantyhose.
- Do not put lotion on your hands and feet.
A DABCI degree (Diplomate of the American Board of Chiropractic Internists) requires doctors to attend and complete post doctorate courses, pass a national certification examination and requires continuing education in advanced coursework each year.
The DABCI program is recognized by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and certified by the American board of Chiropractic Internists (ABCI). The DABCI program is also recognized and approved by the American Board of Chiropractic Specialties (ABCS).