By Dr. Doreen DeStefano, NhD, APRN
Some individuals have a difficult time finding ways to manage stress. The intriguing anatomy and process of our brains help us better understand the production of fear, anxiety, worry, and the decision to take flight or fight. There are neurotransmitters throughout the entire body that send signals to the brain, alerting you instantaneously of real or perceived danger. Anxiety is made up of both psychological and physical symptoms. The psychological part creates nervousness, fear, and worry, while the physical aspect produces sweating, rapid heart palpitations, a rise in blood pressure, nausea, and shortness of breath.
Stress and anxiety play a role in numerous disorders and diseases. The top five are as follows:
#1 Heart Disease: Stress can affect and intensify conditions and behaviors that increase heart disease risk, including high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, smoking, physical inactivity, and overeating.
#2 Digestive Disorders: Stress can cause the tight junction in the gut to weaken and separate. This is known as leaky gut, and once this happens, digestive conditions will worsen, and bacteria can enter the bloodstream, leading to a plethora of disorders.
#3 Cognitive Decline: Chronic stress can cause cognitive decline and disrupt the brain’s communication signals.
#4 Depression: When depressive disorders are left untreated or undertreated, several areas of the brain like the hippocampus, which regulates emotions, and the prefrontal cortex, which controls decision planning abilities, shrink, causing long-term damage.
#5 Autoimmune Diseases: As in the case of leaky gut, many autoimmune diseases are caused by the body’s molecular mimicry process, which confuses certain proteins that leak into the bloodstream with bodily organs. One example of this is the protein in gluten is often detected by the body and confused with the thyroid gland, which causes the body to attack its own organs and tissues.
Reducing Stress and Anxiety
There are many ways to reduce stress, like anti-anxiety drugs, but those are often addictive and have other adverse side effects. Countless people see great results with exercise, yoga, meditation, massage, nutrition, and supplements.
Talk with your physician about the right exercise plan for you. Most people can benefit from taking a brisk 30-minute walk or a 30-minute swim. Exercise increases circulation, reduces stress, it also improves nutrient and oxygen-rich blood flow, and helps you build strength and to lose weight. If you can work out harder, it’s extremely beneficial to get your heart rate up daily with cardiovascular exercise.
Yoga helps to improve flexibility, blood flow, muscle strength, posture, immune function, bone health, decreases depressive episodes, and can regulate blood pressure. Meditation also reduces stress, reduces anxiety, promotes emotional well-being, can help fight addictions, generates health, improves immune function, staves off memory disorders, and increases neuronal plasticity.
It might seem far-reaching to some, but what we put into our bodies can exacerbate stress and anxiety. It’s critical to eliminate sugar as it compromises the white blood cells. Making the majority of the diet plant-based with fresh fruits and vegetables is essential, and individuals should stay well hydrated. A food rule of thumb is to drink at least half your body weight in ounces per day. Foods to avoid simple carbohydrates, excessive caffeine, and alcohol, too much animal protein, dairy, processed or prepackaged food, as these all cause inflammation and metabolic syndrome, which is often the root cause of chronic disease, and they are also known to increase stress.
Many natural supplements can help to relieve stress by working to calm the central nervous system, and some also work directly in the brain. Some of these include adaptogens like Ashwagandha, Gaba, Rhodiola, Holy Basil, and Lemon Balm, to name a few.
In order to overcome stress and pain, we need a well-rounded treatment protocol that incorporates medication (if necessary), stress management, nutrition, exercise, meditation, hormone balancing, and other therapies that can help to stabilize our systems. Root Causes Holistic Health and Medicine offers numerous options to help you customize a plan and also to evaluate your symptoms and target your personal needs. Many supplements can be administered via IV Infusion for better absorption.
Dr. DeStefano, of Root Causes Holistic Health & Medicine in Ft Myers, FL, incorporates IV & Chelation therapy with hyperbaric chamber sessions to combat multiple chronic conditions and disease states.
Doreen DeStefano, NhD, APRN
Dr. DeStefano came to Fort Myers in the early 1980’s, leaving and coming back again several times until finally settling here in 2001. She has a lifelong background in health and wellness that began in middle school when she started running.
Dr. DeStefano is also a lifelong student. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and another in exercise physiology. She has a Masters (ABT) in criminology, a Master’s in public business administration and a Master’s in nursing. She holds a doctorate in natural health and is a licensed Advanced Practice Registered Nurse. She holds numerous licenses and certifications from advanced practice training. She continues to attend educational seminars in integrative and functional medicine twice a year to stay abreast of the most recent, cutting edge therapies available.
Her practice is centered on naturopathic principles that include healing the whole person on various levels and avoiding pharmaceutical intervention unless absolutely necessary. She believes your health Is within your control. Her goal is to help you achieve maximum health.
Learn more about unique and effective therapies with Doreen DeStefano.
Root Causes Holistic Health & Medicine
12734 Kenwood Lane. Ft Myers, FL 33907
239-425-2900 | www.rtcausesmd.com