Do you wake up each day with low energy?
Do you notice that small hiccups in your day seem to “set you off” and can cause feelings of anxiety?
Does your mind race at night?
These are all symptoms of chronic stress and anxiety which typically point to other more serious health imbalances .
Chronic stress has become an epidemic and is the most common complaint reported by primary care physicians.
The way your body experiences stress is much more complicated than most people realize. While emotional/mental stress is usually the focus of most conventional treatments (which typically aim to lessen these symptoms through antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs), they fail to address the other forms of stress that can have long-term damaging effects.
This includes chemical stress from the thousands of toxins most people are exposed to weekly, environmental toxins like electro-magnetic frequencies and mold exposure, to physical stress from injuries or stealth infections that haven't properly healed or physical stress from overexercise and undetected hormone imbalances.
The stress response is a complex system that involves the brain, nervous system, and the adrenal glands, called the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis. When the brain perceives a stress, it signals the adrenals to make cortisol and the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and epinephrine (adrenaline).
Long-term stress leads to chronic activation of the HPA axis, which disrupts the cortisol levels as well as levels of DHEA, melatonin, and epinephrine which can keep us in a physiological stress cycle that can be hard to break.
Nearly every organ including the gut, brain, thyroid, male and female reproductive system can be impacted, leading to a multitude of symptoms including cognitive issues like anxiety and memory.
People often feel wired but tired, have difficulty sleeping and oftentime experience heart palpitations, anxiety, body aches, muscle pain, unexplained weight loss or weight gain, low libido, thyroid imbalances, poor exercise tolerance and recovery, brain fog, or cravings for salt and sugar.
Oftentimes, these symptoms may be ignored by your doctor when they don't find anything obvious in conventional blood tests – which rarely pick up imbalances in your gut, hormone levels, or exposure to viruses, heavy metals and mold as well as other toxins that can cause them.
Cortisol increases blood sugar and over time can lead to insulin resistance or pre-diabetes. Thus, the immune system becomes suppressed, allowing for chronic inflammation and increased susceptibility to viral infections. Over time, high cortisol levels can also suppress digestive function which is at the core of your immune resilience and energy production, leaving you feeling drained and more susceptible to long-term illness.
Chronic stress can be fueled from a multitude of things – including lack of sleep, a diet high in processed and junk foods, consuming too many stimulants (like caffeine and sugar), a rigorous work schedule, emotional trauma from unhealthy relationships or death of a loved one, over-exercising, and a general lack of fun or loving relationships.
Chronic internal stress (usually to blame for anxiety) can also be caused by certain physiological imbalances that are typically overlooked by conventional practitioners such as undiagnosed stealth infections.
When it comes to stress, emotional and mental stress are just two of many areas that need to be addressed.
With the chronic stress cycle, functional medicine acknowledges the multi-factorial causes – from lifestyle factors including poor food choices and food sensitivities, systemic gut and hormone imbalances, or a variety of unresolved traumas that haven’t healed.
Plus, exposure to environmental toxins and even stealth infections are two other considerations that are typically overlooked by conventionally trained practitioners.
When it comes to chronic stress, it’s important to work with a functional medicine practitioner who follows a truly holistic and inclusive approach while conducting the correct lab testing to determine exactly where your imbalances exist.
Once you receive the results from your comprehensive testing, we pair this with a personalized healing protocol that also includes the important lifestyle changes needed to break the chronic stress cycle.
We excel at helping people just like you find the right tools to fit into their lifestyle so that can break the stress cycle and lead a calmer, more productive life while rejuvenating their health.
If you have been experiencing symptoms relating to chronic stress or anxiety, schedule a health strategy session today!
Do you have questions about starting your path back to health? Our patient coordinator is standing by, happy to answer any questions you have to determine if our approach is right for you.
The Gut Doc is located in Kirkwood, Missouri, and serves clients throughout the St. Louis Area and surrounding areas, including St. Louis City and County, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, Franklin County, Illinois counties of Madison, St. Clair and Monroe.