he nervous system controls commu- nication in the body. Its leader is the brain, which allows us to think, decide, control our actions, and coordinate the ability to move, touch, smell, hear, and see. As with any body system, good nutrition plays an important part in seeing that the good health of the nervous system is maintained. AIM Composure® helps maintain your neuro health, especially in regard to dealing efficiently with stress. T
Blood carrying oxygen and nutrients is redirected to organs that need more energy to function with stress, such as your brain and muscles. Less blood
goes to your stomach and skin.
Potential energy sources—blood sugar (glucose) and fat—are released into your blood. Fibrin, a chemical that causes blood to clot more easily, is also released, perhaps to slow or stop bleeding in case of injury.
Many of these physical changes can hurt your health over a long period of time.
Everyone experiences stress. But what triggers it is different in everyone. Personality, genes, and experi- ences all influence how we deal with stress.
Whatever the cause, stress is a factor in many diseases. Stress may aggravate an existing health problem, or trigger an illness if you’re at risk for the condition. Various surveys estimate that stress contributes to 80 percent of major ill- nesses such as cardiovascular disease, digestive diseases (ulcers, ulcerative colitis), mental disorders, injuries, nerv- ous system and sensory-organ diseases, musculoskeletal dis- eases, cancers, endocrine and metabolic diseases, skin dis- orders, and infectious ailments of all kinds.
Although we do not completely understand how illness and stress interact, researchers are looking into it. Indeed, the field of psychoneuroimmunology has emerged, which focuses on how the central nervous system and immune system influence each other during stress.
Whatever the cause of stress, the body’s physical response to stress is similar to its reaction to a physical threat. Your body reacts to face the “challenge”:
A hormone called corticotropin-releasing factor stimu- lates the pituitary gland to release adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH). This signals your adrenal gland to release more hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.
Immune system: Cortisol produced during the stress response may suppress your immune system, increasing your susceptibility to infectious diseases. Studies suggest the incidence of bacterial infections such as tuberculosis and group A streptococcal disease increase during stress. Stress may also make you prone to upper res- piratory viral infections such as the common cold or flu.
Cardiovascular disease: Under acute stress, your heart beats quickly, making you more susceptible to angina (a type of chest pain) and heart rhythm irregularities.
When stress persists, increased blood clotting as a result of the stress response can put you at risk for a heart attack or stroke.
Other relationships between illness and stress aren’t as c l e a r - c u t . B u t s t r e s s m a y w o r s e n s y m p t o m s i f y o u ’ r e p r o n to certain conditions: e
Asthma: If you have asthma, a stressful situation can trigger an attack, in which spasms, narrowing of the bronchial passages, and swelling of their mucous lining cause obstruction of breathing.
Gastrointestinal problems: Stress can make your symp- toms worse if you have a gastrointestinal disorder such as an ulcer or irritable bowel syndrome.
To help combat stress, change whatever factors you can. If possible, get out of the stressful situation. If that is not possible, there are a number of things you can do:
Adrenaline and cortisol prepare your body to respond to stress. Your heart beats faster, breathing quickens, and blood pressure rises.
Exercise regularly: The natural decrease in adrenaline production after exercise may counteract the stress response. People who are physically fit handle stress better.