Dr. James C. Spaulding

Chiropractor - Edinboro, Pa.

Instrument Adjusting Certified
106 Waterford Street • Edinboro Pa 16412 • Send E-Mail
Phone: (814) 734-3422
The Stress of Life
“What happens in the mind of man is always reflected in the diseases of the body.” - Rene Dubos

Stress is a leading cause of mental deterioration, as we age. It can be mental/emotional and psychological, or physical. Physical stresses include trauma, illness, and such things as chronic sleeplessness and drug side-effects.

Chronic stress causes nerve cells to shrink and lose synapses. Synapses are the connections that provide communication between nerve cells. Younger people have the ability to recover from the damaging effects of all kinds of stress (this is called tissue plasticity,) but this is not so much so with middle-aged and older individuals. All types of cells in our body, not just nerve cell, are subject to the aging process. Muscles get weaker, skin loses its elasticity, sight and hearing fades, organs begin to fail, and thinking (cognitive ability) just naturally declines.

One recent study has demonstrated that there is no such thing as a separation of mind and body, as the very molecules in our physical bodies are responsive to our psychological environment. This means that stress accelerates aging.

Stress also causes the production of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone, secreted by the adrenal glands, that has some very important functions.

They are:

  • The release of insulin to maintain blood sugar levels and optimum metabolism
  • Blood pressure regulation
  • A normal immune response
  • A normal inflammatory response

A normal increase in Cortisol is good, temporarily, but prolonged increased levels (associated with chronic adrenal gland stress and exhaustion) have negative effects such as:

  • Imbalanced blood sugar (leading to sugar-handling problems such as type 2 diabetes)
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Loss of muscle mass and strength while increasing belly fat
  • Overall decrease in the body’s immune response
  • Mental “fog” and forgetfulness (cognitive decline)

This abnormally increased level of Cortisol also causes some people to eat more, especially carbohydrates, which of course means increased poundage.

What can you do to reduce the stress in your life? Obviously, there are things you change and things you can’t. Change what you can and let the rest go!

Diet affects the aging process. High sugar and carbohydrate diets are among the worst offenders.

Regular exercise has been proven to lower the effects of stress and aging. One of the biggest reasons people to not stick with an exercise is because they overdo from the start. Don’t fall into that trap. Have a plan, start slow and build little by little over time.

Awareness is crucial. Take stock of both the mental/emotional and physical stressors affecting you.

Dr. Jim Spaulding is a full-time practicing chiropractor of 37 years. He has written numerous articles on the subject of diet and exercise.

© 2014 Dr James C. Spaulding. All Rights Reserved.