Ahhhhh…. Stress! It does not do the body good.
What is stress? Merriam-Webster defines it as “a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation”. We all experience stress in our daily life but most people do not understand what stress does to the body.
Over time, stress affects the “mother hormone” known as DHEA-S. It is a pre-cursor hormone that is produced in the adrenal glands and is responsible for many functions in the body such as fat and mineral metabolism, hormone production such as estrogen, progesterone, cortisone and testosterone which give us our male and female characteristics.
DHEA-S is also responsible for controlling our reaction to stress and the way it affects our body by producing cortisol. Cortisol launches a “fight or flight” response against the stressor we are up against. After a period of prolonged stress our adrenal glands become worn out and fail to produce DHEA-S and we begin to suffer the side effects of “adrenal fatigue”. Adrenal fatigue is a state of being in which our hormones are depleted. We are tired, depressed, hungry, and chronically sick. Adrenal fatigue decreases our productivity at work, our ability to handle our personal life stressors, and our engagement with our children and loved ones through impatience and short temperedness.
DHEA-S is considered to be a protective measure against breast cancer, artery disease, depression, bone loss, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease through healthy production of hormones and a healthy metabolism.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include extreme fatigue, decrease in muscle mass, decreased bone density, depression, aching joints, loss of sex drive, and a lowered immunity.
If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms and have persistent stress in your life seek the advice of a primary care provider and have your blood checked for adrenal gland functioning and hormone production. There are many ways to treat the effects of prolonged stress; let us help you in regaining your vitality.
In health and wellness,
Amy Strocsher FNP-BC
Desert Bloom Family Practice