Mental Stress Affect Our Bone Density and Blood Sugar Levels
Mental stress does affect our blood sugar levels. For instance, people with type 2 diabetes are especially sensitive to stress. As our body produces high levels of stress hormones, it drives blood sugar levels up.
Everyone deals with different stresses and everyone reacts to stress in different ways. Our skin is the largest organ in our bodies, and it reflects signs of stress in a number of different ways, such as acne, psoriasis and eczema flare-ups or even seborrheic dermatitis.
According to Dr. Whitney Bowe, a New York City-based dermatologist and the author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin, Stress falls into acute stress and chronic stress. And chronic stress is the more detrimental form of stress.
#Stress and Indigestion
According to Bowe, when our mind perceives stress, it slows down digestion in the gut. And when your digestion is slowed, it affects the bacteria in our gut. Further, studies found that high levels of stress affect our gut bacteria much like having a high-fat diet.
Bowe asserts that “Slowed motility allows for an overgrowth of unhealthy strains of bacteria, and the natural balance of gut microbes is disrupted, leading to something called dysbiosis. This,in turn, causes the lining of your intestines to become ‘leaky,’ or more permeable, which triggers a bodywide cascade of inflammation.”
As a result of the internal inflammation, the skin may break out in acne or experience flare-ups of psoriasis or eczema. Dr. Forum Patel of Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City explains that when we under stress, our body would identify the situation as something that we are under attack, so our body forms inflammatory markers or inflammatory cells to help treat the attack. As inflammatory cells have increased in number, it triggers flare-ups of any skin conditions.
Our digestive system is heavily affected by our emotions. The health condition of our gut and mental state is heavily linked. Irritable bowel syndrome occurs when our body suffers from high-stress and anxiety. Our gut contains several neurons similar to that of the body’s spinal cord.
Some researchers described the guts neurons as a “local mini-brain.” Because our gut is made up of neuron connections, which can send messages to the brain. That’s why we feel hunger, abdominal pain or nausea. Constant communication between the brain and the gut keep our body in good condition. Nevertheless, when we suffer from high stress, the lines of communication between the brain and gut become scrambled, which leads to upset stomach, constipation, or diarrhea. When our body suffers from severe stress, it becomes flooded with adrenaline and CFR hormone. People who suffer from constant chronic stress are constantly flooded with these hormones, which generally lead to indigestion problems.
# Stress hormones and blood sugar
Our immune system is directly affected by stress. Stress releases hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline into our systems. Adrenaline elevates blood pressure and cortisol increases sugar in the bloodstream, according to the Mayo Clinic. When our body produces too much cortisol, the immune system gets weakened, causing an inflammatory response such as eczema.
Why our emotions affect our blood sugar levels? Negative emotions such as stress, anger, or depression can potentially increase stress-related hormones (e.g. cortisol) in our body.
When the body is under severe prolonged stress, the adrenal glands (which are above our kidneys) release certain stress-related hormones such as adrenaline, glucagon, steroids (e.g. growth hormone), and cortisol.
“Glucagon and adrenaline trigger more glucose to be released from the liver, while the growth hormone and cortisol can result in the body becoming less sensitive to insulin. When more glucose is released into our bloodstream and we become less sensitive to insulin, our blood sugar level rises.” This may result in a vicious cycle. Further, negative emotions increase our sugar levels. (Reference.)
# Prolonged stress: Stops producing hair and stops making nails
As stress increases, our body experiences a spike in adrenaline and cortisol. If the stress is persistent and high, it might even lead to hair loss. When our body experiences severe stress, our body stops producing hair, because hair is not crucial for healing or surviving. Our hair often starts shedding after minor stresses.
In times of prolonged stress, our body stops producing hair and stops making nails. Because hairs and nails are not necessary for survival. Thus, when it comes time for the body to distribute energy to promote healing, nails stop growing. Also, nails become brittle or start peeling during times of high stress, according to Science Daily.
#Stress and bone density
The link between stress and osteoporosis is assured. Anxiety has been found to contribute to lower hip bone mineral density (BMD), and studies found that people who suffer from depression are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis and fracture.
How does stress affect our bones? In response to stress, our body releases stress hormone cortisol in which can potentially decrease bone density by inhibiting the bone-building osteoblasts. With decreased osteoblast activity, our body has more broken down bone tissue than deposited, causing low bone density or even osteoporosis
#Stress leads to dry skin and dehydration
Whenever our body under stress, our fight-or-flight response kicks in, and we experience a spike in adrenaline and cortisol. An increase in adrenaline activates eccrine glands and sweat glands, which cause our body to be dehydrated. As our body thinks it’s under stress, it’s trying to cool itself down. So we need to replenish water more often. That’s why those who have dry skin are more prone to eczema.
#Stress leads to the shift in hormone levels
That shift in hormone levels, cortisol in particular, can be a contributing factor to pesky acne breakouts.“Stress stimulates the brain to produce a specific set of hormones that prepare the body for the stressful environment. As a side effect, these hormones rev up activity of sebaceous glands in the skin, leading to higher than normal levels of oil, blockages in the pores and acne breakouts” Zeichner said.
# Stress affects our scalp
Stress does affect our scalp and hair. Our hair is oilier or drier than normal during times of high stress, because of the shift in hormone levels. Our scalp and hair definitely feel the effects of stress. Some people might experience flare-ups of seborrheic dermatitis, a cousin to psoriasis and dandruff, which could result in redness and flaking of the scalp.
Managing stress should be a multifaceted effort. We have to dig out the roots of our chronic stress. Studies found that the more we tend to run away from our unshakable responsibilities or duties, the more stress accumulated. Thus, doing our duties and take our responsibilities by self-discipline is one of the routes to get rid of chronic stress. Stress occurs for many reasons. Chances are, we tend to finish a large number of projects all at once. Or, unsatisfaction, excessive desire or depression also have strong connection to chronic stress.
Sufficient sleep, regular exercise and a balanced diet also help us to fight against stress. Significantly, positive emotions and positive thoughts are necessary for us to overcome stress. And pessimism is the greatest enemy to stress. The best way to release stress is to deal with the problems directly rather than running away from it.