|HELLO!Allow me to introduce myself; I’m your ADRENAL gland. You might have heard of me. I’m one of your STRESS glands. I might be small, but If I must say so myself, I’m pretty important!
My job is to prepare your body to survive stressful situations, like running into a tiger. That’s when I kick in and get you ready to either fight the tiger, or run away from the tiger. The work I do is so awesome it even has a special name! THE “FIGHT OR FLIGHT” RESPONSE.
If we survive the tiger? Then I usually kick back and relax until the next time I’m needed. Back in the old days, I didn’t have to work very often. That was great, because I can handle occasional stress.
But here’s the problem. I wasn’t designed to handle the chronic stress of the typical American lifestyle. And I DEFINITELY wasn’t designed to handle the HYPER-STRESS of the “Military Lifestyle.”
If you know someone who’s deployed and you’re on the Homefront? I can be your body’s WORST NIGHTMARE. This lifestyle makes me work OVERTIME. And when I’m overworked? Weird things happen to you. But it’s not my fault, I’m just following orders!
(FYI. SOME OF THE THINGS I’M ABOUT TO TELL YOU SOUND VERY SIMILAR TO THE PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, PTSD AND SECONDARY PTSD. WE’LL TALK ABOUT THAT NEXT TIME.)
So here’s what happens when I “follow orders:”
I raise your blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol levels. I also increase your blood’s ability to clot. If I do that on a consistent basis for long enough, we’re talking cardiovascular disease.
I raise your blood sugars to get energy to your muscles, but if you’re not using your muscles very often, Type 2 Diabetes is right around the corner.
I lower your immune system during stress. I also stimulate it once the stress is over, just in case you’re wounded and need to fight off an infection. But if your stress is prolonged? You could end up getting sick ALL THE TIME and be more susceptible to cancer.
This next part is kind of gross, but when you’re in “fight or flight” mode, I assume that you don’t have a lot of time to sit on the toilet, so I change your digestive system. My friends “Stomach” and “Colon” don’t like that at all, because it can cause indigestion, reflux, constipation, and even Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is a medical way of saying “major diarrhea.”
It gets worse. Stress not only changes how you FEEL, it can change how you LOOK. Stress lowers testosterone and human growth hormone. When they’re low, you age BIG TIME. Also, when I’m working, I make a lot of cortisol. Extra cortisol = extra belly fat.
If that’s not bad enough, the hormones I make are made up of sugars and fats. Guess what you crave when you’re stressed? Exactly. Sugar and fat. That can cause you to gain EVEN MORE weight. My friends “Spine” and “Joints” REALLY don’t like that.
Speaking of “Spine,” she protects your “Nerve System.” When “Nerve System” is stressed, ALL OF US ORGANS are stressed. Which can not only lead to headaches, neck pain, back pain, leg pain, etc., it can also lead to many of the same things you read about above, and more.
Any who, it was really nice to meet you. Thanks for listening. Just thought you’d like to know about these things, in case you think you’re getting old, breaking down, falling apart or going completely insane…
Your Adrenal Gland
P.S. Here’s how you can give me a break once in a while. Visit the Homefront United Network’s website daily and read the articles. Each and every one of them contains helpful tips to “Get a Grip on Stress!”
(DISCLAIMER: This message from your adrenal gland is for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of a trained Health Professional when experiencing symptoms or other health issues.)