Thursday, June 23, 2011

Too much stress - what it can do to your body

Just something to think about.

Diseases caused by stress:
Skin disorders
Asthma triggers
Autoimmune Diseases
Hypertension and heart disease
Migraines and headaches

Constant stress can cause serious immune system dysfunction.

Home, children, overtime at work, finances, volunteering, husbands.

Death of a loved one, divorce,substance abuse, miserable jobs.

All promote the release of cortisol (our stress hormone)  which can cause destructive immune factors to be released.

Abnormal levels of these cortisols are associated with autoimmune conditions, inflammatory diseases and allergic conditions.

When cortisol counts go up, DHEA counts go down. DHEA is the immune and anti-aging hormone which helps repair and maintain tissues, reduce atherosclerosis, increase insulin production and balance, control allergic reactions, and balance the immune system.

Low levels of DHEA cause sexual dysfunction, muscular shrinkage, memory loss, degenerative disease and poor immune function.

Life with a non-complaint diabetic is 24/7 stress.

So how do we go about reducing stress?

1.  touch therapies and reflexology....relax the muscles, relaxes the circulatory system, sooths the nervous system.

2.  slow down.  take care of yourself.  eat healthy food.  take a daily multivitamin that includes high levels of B complex.

3.  learn relaxation techniques that suite your lifestyle and personality

4.  meditate (any activity that helps keep your attention calmly in the present moment)

5.  breathe.  Deep.  Slow. In. Out.

6.  self massage

7.  take a time out.  No wonder I love long hot baths.

8.  music. sing.  play the piano.  listen to soothing music.

9.  positive thinking.  30 seconds is enough to shift your heart's rhythm from stressed to relaxed

10.  love.  Love your pet.  Love your child. Love yourself.

So I have failed at this.  I have been under such intense stress for the last 3 years. First with his heart attack, then open heart surgery a year later, then the 2 spinal fusions surgeries a year after that (this past February)  21 days of him in the hospital with me fighting for his life, for his care, nearly 24 hours a day.  Then 3 months of intense home care.

And in that process, I did not take time to take care of me. Oh, I thought I was.  But I really wasn't.  My art wasn't enough.  My body started to attack itself.  I ignored every single symptom.  Until 2 weeks ago when I physically could not move.  I called my doctor and said I needed help.  Today, she did all kinds of xrays, lab work and she thinks that my immune system is attacking itself.  We are going to rule out as much as we can, but it seems apparent that my body has attacked my muscles, causing weakness and muscle pain.

We are starting physical therapy immediately and will be treating this with meds.  There is hope for a good prognosis, but if we don't "fix" me, I could well end up in a wheelchair - way too young!

All because I thought it was more important to take care of him than to listen to my own body.

Hrump!  I think things will be changing around here tomorrow! I have cleared my calendar for the next 10 days.  I am going to stay with one of my sister's next week and relax.  Completely and totally forget about everything and anything here.  Sort of a "cleansing" process so to speak.  I will be altering my diet, adding exercises and stretches, doing everything possible to nip this in the bud.

My body is screaming at me to slow down. I'm going to listen.



sar said...

They are killing us. No ands, ifs or buts. The stress is terrible and it is killing us inch by inch.

Thank goodness you have an escape. I do not have a sister or a brother. I so wish I did. I have great kids, but I am basically alone day after day, night after night with him. The kids come often, but in the wee hours, it is me alone.

You need to take care of yourself. No one takes care of me. I fear you are in the same boat as far as being the only one to look out for your health and well being. My H does not. I fear yours does the same.
Enjoy your time off.

Sandy said...

Great post. I used to see a therapist and told her the strange things going on with me. Like no memory and the fact that I can hear people but I don't understand what they are saying all the time. Weird I know but she told me it is all the stress. She gave me some relaxation techniques along with some meds to use as needed. My hubby is very sensitive and tries to help me relax when I am at my worst. I am very lucky to have him in that sense. Take care xoxo

Lilly said...

Thank you for posting this. It is a bit of a wake-up call for me. I had more crazy stuff happen with my hubby (see me latest post) that made me wonder what toll his behavior is having on me. My guess is that it's not good.

I like the idea of spending time with your sister. That has to be so helpful for you. I am trying to figure out what to do in my own life to make the stress less for me. Wish me luck!

I so hope that you can get your body back in order, and that this is not a permanent condition for you. Take time to take care of yourself. It is so important.

Hang in there,