Stress and Sick
Chronic stress can have debilitating consequences on our mind and our body.
DID YOU KNOW? Our body is hard-wired to react to stress in ways that actually protect us. It’s our natural stress response. It works for us against threats from predators and other aggressors.
Our body’s stress-response system is usually self-limiting. Once a perceived threat has passed, hormone levels return to normal.
As adrenaline and cortisol levels drop, our heart rate and blood pressure return to baseline levels, and other systems resume their regular activities. Increased cortisol levels commonly challenge those with high stress jobs that go on to suffer with metabolic syndrome. You can work out the likelihood and prevent this if you take ownership at the right time.
When stressors are always present, we constantly feel under attack. That fight-or-flight reaction? It stays turned on.The long-term activation of the stress-response system — and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones — can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems.
Your levels of stress – how do they add up?
Take this stress test and add up your scores. The results at the end are a guide. Tweet This
- Under 45 years 
- 45–54 years 
- 55–64 years 
- Over 64 years 
Weight and Stress
Body Mass Index **
- Lower than 25 kg/m2 
- 25–30 kg/m2 
- Higher than 30 kg/m2 
Fat and Stress
Waist circumference measured below the ribs (usually at the level of the navel)
- Less than 94 cm 
- 94–102 cm 
- More than 102 cm 
- Less than 80 cm 
- 80–88 cm 
- More than 88 cm 
Have you ever taken medication for high blood pressure on regular basis?
- Yes 
Have you ever been found to have high blood glucose (eg in a health examination, during an illness, during pregnancy)?
- Yes 
Have any of the members of your immediate family or other relatives been diagnosed with diabetes (type 1 or type 2)?
- Yes: grandparent, aunt, uncle or first cousin (but no own parent, brother, sister or child) 
- Yes: parent, brother, sister or own child 
Stress Test Score – to checklist Below
- 0 = Never/Rarely
- 1 = Occasionally/Slightly
- 2 = Moderate in Intensity or Frequency
- 3 =Intense/Severe or Frequent
✓ My ability to handle stress or pressure has decreased.
✓ I am less productive at work.
✓ I seem to have decreased in cognitive ability. I don’t think as clearly as I used to.
✓ My thinking is confused when hurried or under pressure.
✓ I tend to avoid emotional situations.
✓ I tend to shake or am nervous when under pressure.
✓ I suffer from nervous stomach indigestion when tense.
✓ I have many unexplained fears/anxieties.
✓ My sex drive is noticeably less than it used to be.
✓ I get lightheaded or dizzy when rising rapidly from a sitting or lying position.
✓ I have feelings of greying or blacking out.
✓ I am chronically fatigued; a tiredness that is not usually relieved by sleep.
✓ I feel unwell much of the time.
✓ I notice that my ankles are swollen — the swelling is worse in the evening.
✓ I usually need to lie down or rest after sessions of psychological or emotional pressure/stress.
✓ My muscles sometimes feel weaker than they should.
✓ My hands and legs get restless — experience meaningless body movements.
✓ I have become allergic or have increased frequency/severity of allergic reactions.
✓ When I scratch my skin a white line remains for a minute or more.
✓ Small, irregular dark brown spots have appeared on my forehead, face, neck and shoulders.
✓ I sometimes feel weak all over.
✓ I have unexplained and frequent headaches.
✓ I am frequently cold.
✓ I have a decreased tolerance for cold.
✓ I have low blood pressure.
✓ I often become hungry, confused, shaky or somewhat paralyzed under stress.
✓ I have lost weight without reason while feeling very tired and listless.
✓ I have feelings of hopelessness and despair.
✓ I have decreased tolerance. People irritate me more.
✓ The lymph nodes in my neck are frequently swollen (I get swollen glands on my neck).
✓ I have times of nausea and vomiting for no apparent reason.
✓ I am easily fatigued
✓ I often have to force myself in order to keep going.
✓ Everything seems like a chore
✓ I have difficulty getting up in the morning (don’t really wake up until about 10:00am
✓ I suddenly run out of energy
✓ I usually feel much better and fully awake after the noon
✓ I often have an afternoon low between 3:00-5:00pm
✓ I get low on energy, moody or foggy if I do not eat
✓ I usually feel my best after 6:00pm
✓ I am often tired at 9:00-10:00 pm, but resist going to
✓ I like to sleep late in the morning
✓ My best, most refreshing sleep often comes between
✓ I often do my best work late at night (early in the
✓ If I don’t go to bed by 11:00pm, I get a second burst of
energy around 11:00pm, often lasting until 1:00-2:00amRESULTSTOTAL SCORE:45-65… It is unlikely that you experience significant amounts of stress to impact your lifestyle or health at present65-90… It is unlikely that the stress you experience is negatively impacting your health at present90-150… The stress you experience may be having serious negative health implications150+… It is likely that the stress you experience is having serious negative health implicationsHealth Conditions associated with Chronic StressType 2 diabetes – Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome – infertility – Autoimmune diseases – Depression – Anxiety Disorders – Digestive problems -Heart disease – Sleep problems – Weight gain – Memory and concentration impairmentHow to find the UNDERLYING issues that PREDISPOSE us to chronic illness.What or why are they TRIGGERED by PROLONGED periods of STRESS?How do we nip it in the bud BEFORE we’re sick?
IN THE FOUR PHASES
- Consultation is Key
- Physical Exam is Key
- Special Investigations may include blood pressure average reading, adrenal stress test, blood sugar readings, blood work
- Naturopathic Portfolio HOW is stress affecting our health? Do we require special investigations? One type of stress management doesn’t work for every body. If working in a high stress job is affecting our health but we can’t check out into a spa then we need to know what to do to prevent chronic illness.