IS STRESS MAKING YOU SICK?
We are exposed to stress constantly. Our lives are busier and the world is more complex than ever. Being constantly in touch with cell phones and email has its advantages, but it also adds to the stress in our daily lives (remember, any interruption is a small stress). Other stressors to our body include pollution, foods with poor nutrition content, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, and many of the medications we take (especially when they cause side effects).
Stress causes changes in our hormone levels. Everybody respond to stress in different ways. Short bursts of stress often lead to temporary hormone disturbances. Longer exposure to stress leads to more profound hormone alterations in multiple hormone systems, including many of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty Falling or Staying Asleep
- Anxiety or Irritability
- Foggy Thinking and Disorganization
- Feeling Tired All the Time
- Menstrual Cycle Changes
Traditional diet remedies that involve stimulants often do not work for people who are exposed to chronic stress since they add medication stress to the emotional stress. Stress can target hormone imbalances in the thyroid, adrenal, and reproductive hormones that ultimately lead to depression and anxiety disorders, chronic fatigue, and memory problems. Many medications for depression or sleeping pills do not treat the underlying hormonal imbalance that is causing the symptoms and will sometimes make symptoms worse by heightening the imbalance.
Dr. Rosner can relieve your symptoms and allow your body to function better under stress.
If you think you have a hormone imbalance, give us a call for your initial Hormone Health and Stress assessment consultation and saliva testing.
THE TRUTH ABOUT CORTISOL, ENERGY, AND STRESS
Does cortisol make me fat or tired? Do caffeine addicts have a cortisol problem?
We have heard a lot about Cortisol lately. A number of over-the-counter diet pills are touting the blocking of cortisol as the remedy for weight gain in the abdomen. However, most people who need to lose weight actually have low cortisol levels.
Cortisol is made by the adrenal glands that sit on top of our kidneys. When exposed to any stress, our adrenal glands are supposed to release Cortisol in preparation to “fight or flight.” When a Cortisol surge is followed by some kind of exercise, our body works stronger and more efficiently until the stress is gone. If we continue to expose ourselves to stress without any form of stress release and proper nutritional support, our adrenal glands become overworked, resulting in overproduction of Cortisol. It is this overproduction of Cortisol (without exercise) that causes the accumulation of belly fat, carb cravings, spikes in blood pressure and blood sugar, and difficulty falling asleep at night.
However, when stress continues even longer or when other hormone systems in the body are unbalanced, the adrenal gland becomes unable to produce enough Cortisol to respond to even the smallest amounts of stress. The result is called adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue may cause foggy thinking, irritability, lethargy most of the day, and having trouble sleeping. People with adrenal fatigue may experience uncontrollable drowsiness at breaks during the day or while driving home from work. If you need caffeine throughout the day just to function, you could have adrenal fatigue. Once the adrenal gland is in fatigue, frequent doses of caffeine are craved just to get a tiny burst of energy from your depleted adrenals. Approximately 60% of Americans may have some sort of adrenal fatigue.
Cortisol-blocking diet supplements will actually make a person with adrenal fatigue feel worse and even gain weight.
The answer lies in your individual testing. With super-sensitive saliva testing, we can determine your Cortisol output at four times in the day. Then we can help your body handle stress better with the proper adrenal support or suppression as indicated by your testing. This coupled with some small dietary alterations and well-timed exercise will end your cravings and allow you to achieve your greatest health.
To start your path to feeling better, call Dr. Rosner for your initial consultation.
“I have energy all day without caffeine! I now actually crave healthy foods and I sleep great without a sleeping pill!”
—One of our Hormone Balance Patients.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THYROID TESTING
The Thyroid Gland rests in the lower neck. It is responsible for controlling the body’s overall metabolism at the cellular level. This overall metabolism is reflected in the body’s temperature. (Try it. If your oral temperature when you wake up is below 98 degrees, then you could be hypothyroid). Deficiencies of thyroid hormones or their ability to stimulate cellular metabolism can result in one or many annoying symptoms:
- Weight Gain or Difficulty Losing Weight
- Loss or Thinning of Eyebrows
- Low Sex Drive
- Abdominal Bloating
- Dry or Thinning Hair
- Cold Intolerance
- Cold Hands or Feet
- Joint or Muscle Pain
Modern researchers estimate that as many as 1 out of 10 people have a thyroid disorder and may not even know it. These people often suffer from many of the above symptoms without knowing the cause. They try every fad diet and antidepressant pill with no help. Many of these people have Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) blood screening tests in the “normal” range. However, in 2008, the TSH test is virtually useless when the present broad range of “normal” is used. Studies have shown that people with normal TSH levels who have the symptoms listed above likely have reduced levels of the actual circulating thyroid hormones. Furthermore, some people on thyroid medication also can be under-treated if TSH alone is used to measure progress.
Medications, stress, and other hormone imbalances have been shown to lower the effectiveness of thyroid hormones in the body by disrupting the balance between the weaker T4 hormone and the stronger T3 hormone. This is especially true in women on birth control pills, hormone replacement pills, and even women with PMS or abnormal periods. Again, these people will likely have a normal blood TSH, but abnormally they may have low circulating thyroid hormone levels.
At reMEDy Heath and Aesthetics, all patients with any of the classic hypothyroid symptoms are tested for the free thyroid hormones in addition to TSH. Also, we now offer testing of thyroid hormones in the saliva, which, in our practice, has shown to be more sensitive at diagnosing hypothyroidism than blood tests.
All patients with abnormal testing are given small doses of thyroid hormone to take daily in order to balance out their metabolism. Symptoms usually improve in a few weeks! Remember, you’re not getting old or depressed. The answer may lay in your thyroid!