012: Inflammation Part 3 Stress

Today is more of an off the cuff episode I did it in one take and I tried to make it less about me referencing studies and more about me helping you reframe stress. I have found that as I work with my clients, that learning how to reframe their life stress, many other problems seem to fall into place because that is where the rubber meets the road.

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I started writing out the episode I added references, and it was a well-researched script, but there was little in the way of tactical takeaways, So to combat that. The practical takeaways are in the recording, and here I wanted to share a bit of the research with you. Here is a bit of the script:

Today is part 2 in our 3-part discussion about inflammation, and today we’ll be talking about stress. I can just feel the excitement in the air. I am also pretty sure some people of there in podcast land are probably eye-rolling at the idea of stress being the reason for chronic inflammation, I know I was a neigh sayer at one point. “How could my level of stress affect my body? How can my mental state affect my inflammatory markers? Isn’t there a separation of mind and body like we have church and state?”

The answer is not so straight forward. Let’s discuss. According to a 2017 paper entitled: Inflammation: The Common Pathway of Stress-Related Diseases, the authors say that “Chronic inflammation is an essential component of chronic diseases. Additionally, accumulating evidence suggested that excessive inflammation plays critical roles in the pathophysiology of the stress-related diseases, yet the basis for this connection is not fully understood.” Which doesn’t sound too far off from what I just said. They go on to say that the paper will try and sift out the role of stress-induced inflammation.

To quote the paper again, they state that:

Stress is the common risk factor of 75%–90% of diseases… According to the former review, the most common stress-related diseases are cardiovascular diseases (CVD, i.e., hypertension and atherosclerosis), metabolic diseases (i.e., diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, NAFLD), psychotic and neurodegenerative disorders (i.e., depression, Alzheimer’s disease, AD and Parkinson’s disease, PD), cancer (Cohen et al., 2007).

So much for separation of mind and body. In another paper entitled, Chronic stress, glucocorticoid receptor resistance, inflammation, and disease risk speaks about how chronic stress can increase your inflammatory response, which heightens your risk for developing asthma, autoimmune diseases as well as the chronic diseases mentioned before, the paper also mentions and cites other studies that have implicated chronic stress in lower your immune response which “is associated with increased susceptibility to developing a common cold among persons experimentally exposed to an upper respiratory virus.” This finding has been corroborated by other studies as well. To be fair drawing a 1 to 1 link in stuff like this can be difficult to tease out. But one underlying feature holds true: chronic stress seems to increase cortisol, it is a stress hormone after all, and increased cortisol allows for a proinflammatory response.

If you weren’t stressed before, you might be now, after all, if stress can kill, why ever try to eat healthy, right?! Hey now not so fast let’s drop the twinky and step away slowly. Before we finish today let’s talk about a few simple things you can do to de-stress. This is where the podcast takes off. If you check out the podcast, there you can get a few nuggets of info to help you reframe stress to help you let go of the nagging chronic inflammation. Destressing is a task that always needs to get done. Like someone once said, if you do not have 5 minutes to meditate, or use to de-stress/self-care, then you need an hour to do those things. If you do not you may wreck yourself physically and mentally.

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If you struggle to implement ways to de-stress, or if you need accountability to help you along the way reach out to me and I will help you in any way I can.

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