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The risk factors: Anxiety and stress

Here is the fact. Anxiety and stress are not just “all in mind.” It can seriously damage the body and complete mental health and wellbeing. Perhaps you are taking good care of your body by eating healthy and getting enough exercise. However, if you are depriving yourself of sleep, that is enough of a trigger for anxiety or stress, and you are not doing all the right things that your body needs. Anxiety and stress is the body’s mechanism to react to these situations.

Our body produces stress hormones to help us in fight or flight reactions. This is the body’s means to defend you. The stress hormones keep you attentive and energetic. Although we are very much still primal, unevolved creatures, our lifestyles, for the most part now, do no longer require these hormones. While this is a great thing, it may become dangerous to our body when it remains elevated for an extended time. Let’s look at some of the risk factors for anxiety and stress.


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Correlation: cholesterol and anxiety

Low-density lipoprotein is terrible for the body. It behaves like rust that affects arteries’ wellbeing, which may result in adverse medical conditions. Moreover, according to specialists, the build-up of bad cholesterol is linked to anxiety. This is because it generates two chemicals, adrenaline, and cortisol, from the brain’s section called the hypothalamus when the body is under stress.

The body is also raising cholesterol when the two chemicals are produced. The cortisol stimulates a lot of sugar to provide the body with more energy, and the sugar is converted into fat and cholesterol when left unabated. Anxiety is ordinary in everyday life, but it can cause many emotional, psychological, and physical diseases when it stays unabated.

Scientists studied 60 patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder, with other anxiety disorders (panic disorder, social phobia, agoraphobia, specific phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, adjustment disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder) and a control group of healthy subjects. Serum cholesterol levels were determined before starting outpatient or inpatient behavioral therapy. Both groups of patients had significantly elevated cholesterol levels compared with the control group. In patients with different anxiety disorders, 68% had total cholesterol concentrations above 200 mg/dl; in the obsessive-compulsive patients, 65%. Only 30% of the participants exceeded this limit in the control group. Moreover, the patients more often had a combination of high LDL and low HDL levels, which is particularly unfavorable concerning atherosclerosis. Source


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When the body is under strain, your blood pressure is elevated. This is manageable if you’re not abusing your body by eating foods teeming with poor cholesterol or eating a lot of food full of sodium. However, stress hormones are causing those blood vessels to constrict. This is why the blood pressure spikes. Elevated blood pressure levels can lead to other adverse health implications, renal disorder, and cardiovascular disease.

You are best to recognize this cholesterol and change your diet to ensure that you are doing as minor damage to your body as possible while minimizing this risk factor for anxiety and stress. Stay away from a high-fat diet, cut as many calories as possible, and your mental state will likely improve.


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Correlation: stroke risk and stress

Blood pressure and heart disease, stress, and stroke connections are not yet definitely established. Yet a study revealed that stroke victims reported living stressful lives before their stroke. Their stressful lives resulted in increased blood pressure and raised cholesterol, suffering from strokes.

Workplace stress, in particular, can be dangerous.
There is growing evidence identifying stress as a risk factor for stroke – particularly stress related to your job. For example, several studies link work stress to an increased risk of stroke in adults.

How can stress cause a stroke?
Precisely what happens when people are stressed depends on what other factors are involved. For example, stress can act as a trigger for medical problems or cause a stroke in addition to other medical conditions, the expert explains.

When combined with other factors, stress becomes a trigger for illness. For example, sometimes stress can trigger inflammation, high blood pressure, or other vascular conditions – and those are the ones that can lead to stroke or heart attack.

Increasing psychosocial stress (for example, workplace pressures) is linked to the risk of fatal and nonfatal stroke in adults.

The stress of any kind is harmful to health.
Data from six studies involving 138,782 participants were analyzed in China for one study. The researchers looked into the relationship between occupational stress and future stroke risk. It turned out that a stroke caused by stress is indeed possible and that stress of any kind is harmful to health, which should be taken seriously the physician reports.

The Chinese study examined two dimensions of work: psychological work demands and work control. Psychological work demands included time pressure, mental stress, and responsibility. Work control is control over one’s own decisions, the expert explains.

For example, a job with high demands and low control (serving in a restaurant) was associated with a 22 percent increased risk of stroke compared with jobs with low demands and high power.


Related: How to best let the stress not get to you – Tips for eliminating stress for good


Although a rough correlation, so to speak, one cannot simply disregard the possible link between highly stressful occupations and the higher risk factors of heart attack or stroke. We’ll wait for definitive scientific studies before absolutely ruling it out; however, it seems that correlation exists. To best cope with stress, try to find an occupation that you are comfortable with and minimizes stress.


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Alcohol contributes to anxiety and stress

Anxiety is driving people to consume more alcohol. There is evidence that low alcohol levels reduce the strain levels in individuals. It’ll impact the liver and other vital organs, all for the pursuit of reduced anxiety as alcohol consumption increases. Alcohol is incredibly sneaky because many use it as a coping mechanism without realizing it’s making the anxiety worse. Many convince themselves that it alleviates the symptoms while it is exasperating them.

One could argue that alcohol is consumed in excess can cause both anxiety and stress. This could be the direct or indirect result of alcohol consumption in excess. In addition, the strain on relationships along with issues presented concerning the workplace can have profound implications for anxiety and stress. Therefore, we would recommend eliminating or cutting back on alcohol consumption if it directly or indirectly creates an environment of stress.

Alcohol only calms in the short term.

A counterpart to the braking GABA is the messenger substance glutamate. Glutamate increases the receptivity of nerve cells and stimulates them to transmit signals. Glutamate thus acts as an accelerator between the cells. Consumed alcohol very quickly passes the blood-brain barrier and reinforces the braking agent GABA and blocks glutamate receptors, thus preventing nervous excitation. The result: the feeling of pleasant relaxation sets in. “In reality, the brain is over-calmed by alcohol and its effects. A state that is not natural and therefore does not last,” says Prim. Dr. Kurosch Yazdi, head of the addiction department at the Wagner-Jauregg Provincial Neurological Clinic in Linz.

 

Daily alcohol is particularly harmful

In the long term, alcohol reduces the calming neurotransmitter GABA and increases glutamate’s excitatory counterpart. “This is especially true for those who drink alcohol every day, and no matter how large the daily amount. This especially affects so-called mirror drinkers. These have a lot of glutamates and get neurological problems when the alcohol level drops,” Yazdi explains. However, drinking a small amount of alcohol once or twice a week (two to three-eighths of wine) does not usually threaten the chemical balance in the brain.

 

Rebound: restlessness and anxiety

If you drink alcohol very frequently (no matter how much), the glutamate receptors are constantly obstructed by alcohol molecules. Since this disturbs the chemical balance in the brain, the body creates a balance and increases the number of receptors. Now, when no alcohol is drunk, and the alcohol level drops again, many glutamate receptors are suddenly active. The result:

  • The nervous system is overexcited.
  • One feels nervous and anxious.
  • A so-called withdrawal can occur.

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are restlessness, anxiety, high pulse, insomnia, sweating, tense overexcitement, hyperactivity of the autonomic nervous system, increased hand tremor. Sometimes this tension can advance to the point of a panic attack. In addition, severe alcoholics may experience severe withdrawal symptoms such as nausea or vomiting, temporary hallucinations or illusions, and epileptic seizures.

Whether and how severely someone feels withdrawal varies significantly from person to person. Symptoms often occur in people who usually drink alcohol every day and take an alcohol-free day now and then. On these alcohol-free days, they then feel nervous restlessness. In people who drink only on weekends, the brain metabolism is usually still fine.

Suppose someone feels nervous and restless despite very low alcohol consumption when they subsequently abstain from alcohol. In that case, this indicates that an anxious, nervous basic mood also prevailed before alcohol consumption. Here, the ratio of GABA and glutamate was already unbalanced, and alcohol consumption was used as an – inappropriate – form of self-treatment. After stopping the alcohol, the unbalanced metabolism in the brain then becomes noticeable again. 


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Anxiety induced melancholy

It’s widely known that anxiety may result in melancholy. New research has demonstrated how intertwined stress, as well as depression, are. It looks that the more the brain keeps the pressure at bay, the better chances it can ward off depression. The hippocampus, an essential section of the brain, shrinks when stress is present, as researchers tested on mice.

This finding has caused a decision that pressure impacts short-term memory and individuals’ ability to learn. The evaluations give us a better picture of the results to the brain when it is stressed. In some scientific studies, mental states similar to depression were observed in mice when exposed to tense situations.


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Heart disease is correlated with stress

Medical research has yet to understand the connection between stress and cardiovascular disease entirely. Anxiety, however, is a risk factor that could lead to cardiovascular disease. In addition, some research has revealed that when people are stressed, they tend to eat some comfort foods, which often are unhealthy.

Pressure affects your body more than you believe. So it’s about time to start thinking about how crucial relieving stress is concerning your overall health and wellbeing. If you think that your anxiety levels are going haywire, don’t wait. Seek professional help immediately.

Heart and stress: When the mental pressure becomes too great

“I have such stress” – almost all of us have said this sentence at one time or another. Nowadays, most people are under enormous pressure. Whether it’s congested subways in the morning, noisy traffic chaos, trouble at work, or stressful situations in the family – psychological stress is often accepted as a harmless everyday phenomenon. Yet it is one of the most significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease. This is because stress causes our blood pressure to rise. This can lead to a heart attack, cardiac insufficiency, cardiac arrhythmia, or heart failure in the worst case.

Stress? What is it?

To understand why stress can harm our hearts, we need to understand what triggers psychological tension: stress is the body’s adaptation reaction to stressful environmental stimuli. When we are exposed to pressure, stress mobilizes our energy and revs up our nervous system:

  • Attention is sharpened.
  • The heart beats faster.
  • Blood pressure rises.
  • Insulin and other hormones are released.

These reactions date back to human prehistory: if a hunter was suddenly faced with a sizeable dangerous animal, the body’s stress reactions allowed him to provide energy in a flash and to flee faster or to face the fight. In addition, blood clotting was activated to stop bleeding contracted in battle quickly. In addition, the organism called on the defense cells of the immune system in case a wound became infected.  

How does stress affect heart health? 

Stress, then, is something that comes naturally. We need it to cope with the demands placed on us. But our psyche and our body also depend on the fact that a relaxation phase always follows tension. If we fail to relax, we experience permanent stress. Our blood pressure is then permanently too high, the persistently altered blood coagulation favors constrictions and blockages of the blood vessels, and the constantly released insulin can lead to diabetes. Sleep disturbances often occur. There is also a risk of heart disease and a weakening of the immune system.  

In addition, when we are under constant stress, we often adopt behaviors that are harmful to our health, such as smoking, eating in frustration, or drinking too much alcohol. Under stress, some people also neglect doctor visits and take necessary medications regularly. All of this contributes to the fact that stress is now considered a significant risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Source


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Many of our clients have observed less anxiety and stress when using an Alkaline diet. The alkaline cookbook is one of the foremost authorities on cooking with alkaline foods. Click here to learn more about it.

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