By Andrea Schnowske, DC
According to the American Institute of Stress, 55 percent of Americans report feeling stressed during the day and 63 percent of workers are ready to quit their job to avoid work-related stress. Stress is defined in many different ways, but how an individual accepts and adapts to stressors in their daily life can ultimately determine whether its impact is negative or positive. Our bodies are physiologically designed to deal with stress by activating the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal axis to signal organs, glands, and muscles to initiate the “Fight or Flight” response to raise blood sugar, increase heart rate, slow digestion, and stop certain hormones from being produced. However, when our bodies are under a chronic load of stress this can lead to HPA Axis Disorder which can cause health issues such as hypertension, headaches, gastrointestinal and skin complaints, insomnia, and fatigue.
I think the biggest life impact with individuals suffering from chronic stress is their relationships with their families and friends. When your HPA axis isn’t working properly you may tend to become angry or irritated quickly and snap at your loved ones or you may have no energy to interact with your kids or spouse. This can even lead to isolation and depression because of the loss of social interaction. Unfortunately many doctors are not familiar with HPA Axis Disorders or the testing associated with getting answers and creating a plan to get great results.
Two of the most common complaints I see in my office due to chronic stress are gastrointestinal complaints and fatigue. Many patients that are experiencing gastrointestinal complaints may not always seek help from their doctor or may be prescribed a medication like omeprazole or a beta blocker that has severe health risks if taken long term. Patients with fatigue tend to stimulate themselves by drinking caffeine or sugar to try and boost energy throughout the day without realizing that caffeine actually over-stimulates the HPA axis and can lead to less energy production and even interfere with sleep cycles.
If you are experiencing symptoms of the health issues mentioned above and feel like you have not gotten answers from your doctor, you may need to meet with a doctor who has had specialized training in HPA Axis Disorders and can spend time with you to find answers and even perform specialized testing to determine the correct course of treatment to get results so you can get your life back.
For more information on how stress affects digestion, anemia, hormones, and sleep you can also visit my YouTube Channel “Health and Horsepower” for many educational videos designed to explain the links between HPA Axis Disorders and even the testing and treatments available to manage and support your body through the healing process.
About the Doctor: Dr. Andrea Schnowske is a chiropractor and holistic health practitioner in Peoria. She is committed to listening to her patients, spending time going over recommendations and lab testing, and getting them actively involved with holistic solutions to get answers and solve health problems with long term results that can be maintained the rest of your life. She also involves other physicians so your whole health team is on the same page with the same goal to get you the results you need to get back to living your life. Freedom Chiropractic & Holistic Health is located at 4700 N. University St., Spc 65, in Peoria and can be reached at 309-689-6200.