Stress is part of nearly everyone’s lives, but it can become chronic and cause health problems. So it should be it should be managed carefully.
Stress may be affecting your health even if you don’t realize it. About 80 percent of all physician visits are thought to be the result of stress-related situations. Sandra Vicari, assistant professor of psychiatry at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, says stress stems from pressures we put on ourselves.
SOUND BITE: “The high demands such as major life changes, finances, divorce, relationships. We’re too busy. And then we have some internal ones, our perfectionism, our ability to be pessimistic rather than positive. All those relate to our stress cause stress. . .”
Stress can cause more than nagging headaches and frequent insomnia. Because of our body’s natural stress response, the adrenal gland releases hormones which can increase blood pressure and blood sugar levels as well as suppress the immune system.
Chronic stress over long periods of time also can lead to respiratory conditions, heart disease and strokes. Vicari says there are some things individuals can do to manage their stress.
SOUND BITE: “Yoga, exercise, breath work, meditation, mindfulness, music, take a walk in the park, humor, using humor. People can journal, reading, anything that you enjoy that takes you away from the stressors that you might have. But done in a healthy way . . .”
Anyone who is having symptoms caused by stress should see their personal physician or a mental health counselor for evaluation and possible treatment.
This is Ruth Slottag at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.