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Facts About The Human Body
31st August 2017

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Managing Stress

HOW CAN STRESS BE MANAGED?

MANAGING STRESS LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE



STRESS SHOWS no boundaries, it can be Mum juggling housework, cooking, and looking after young children or maybe Dad is experiencing stress at work trying to get something that takes three days to complete, being told it must be finished today. Unfortunately, when we finish todays housework or leave the office we may take the stress with us. As explained in a separate section “Stress & Cortisol”, stress releases hormones into our blood stream, it’s when hormones are continually being pumped into our blood stream, we start to suffer with side effects leading to high blood pressure which can in-turn cause damage to the heart, kidneys, liver, and other body organs and can lead to heart conditions or a stroke.
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Even when stressful moments come and go, there is medical concern that if stress occurs just intermittently at low level, over years this can also have a damaging effect on your heart and other organs.
 
So much information has been written about stress that can be the result of money worries, relationship tensions, problems at work etc. etc. which can lead on to depression. Medical research indicates stress and/or depression may end up causing “Heart and Organ Damage” which begs the big question ‘How can Stress be Managed’?
 
Learn more about looking after your "Second Brain" by reading more information below.

LET’S LOOK AT OPTIONS...

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LET’S LOOK AT OPTIONS to reduce stress and cope with depression without medication, very easy to say, not so easy to put in practice.
I know from experience, when I’ve come home from work after a day filled with meetings, most of which require some immediate action.
My way to combat the days’ stress was to sit down and reach for a glass of wine.
It certainly worked, I felt relaxed and able to cope.
Unfortunately, one drink can become two or more and that’s when the blood pressure starts to rise, and the problems begin……….

LET’S HAVE A LOOK

LET'S HAVE A LOOK at Decision making when the body is suffering from dehydration and lack of sleep to see the impact when the body is fed too much alcohol. Without question your ability to make decisions is reduced, how bad your decision making becomes, depends how much alcohol you drink.

Dehydration occurs in the body when alcohol is consumed, and not surprisingly, the amount of dehydration depends on how much we drink. However, too much alcohol starts to limit your body from producing an Anti-Diuretic Hormone that allows the body to reabsorb water, with a lower level of this hormone the body secretes more fluid than normal through an increase in urination.
 
WHILE WE ARE SLEEPING without any alcohol in our blood stream, the brain produces more of the Anti-Diuretic Hormone, which enables us to sleep through the night without having to visit the loo.
However, with alcohol in our blood stream the brain doesn’t produce enough of this hormone, with the result we wake up and can frequently visit the loo after a night out.
This has the knock-on effect that we’re not getting a good nights sleep and wake up with dry eyes, increased blood pressure and possibly a hangover.
Read more about sleep in section titled: - ‘Sleep, how much do we need’
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What is a hangover?

 
Some people would say waking up feeling sick, a thumping headache, dry mouth, thirsty, confused, dizzy, stomach ache, shaky, plus thinking ‘I’ll never do this again’
What causes a hangover?...
...easy answer, too much alcohol.
But why do we feel so ill?
Why does a hangover last so long?
What causes blood pressure to rise?
Let’s follow the journey of your first and subsequent alcohol drinks.
But first let’s understand what alcohol is and how it’s made.
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Other types of Alcohol/Ethanol are generally known as methylated spirits, which has many uses, one being cleaning, another is Butylene Glycol which is used as a solvent. These are up to 100% pure, to stop people drinking this alcohol additives are added to give it a bad taste and smell which would cause nausea. Consuming a quantity of any alcohol that is 100% pure would almost certainly be fatal.

ALCOHOL POISONING

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Alcohol Poisoning from a night out drinking can cause some very serious health problems, some of the symptoms of alcohol poisoning are confusion, uncontrolled or slow breathing, clammy hands, feeling cold, uncontrolled sickness, possibly seizures or unconsciousness.
If you are with someone that you feel may be suffering from alcohol poisoning, put them on their side in the recovery position, to stop them choking on their own vomit and call the emergency services. Alcohol poisoning can shut down the brain’s bodily functions and can be fatal. Maybe look on line to learn more.
Enough said on what is alcohol, it’s a subject you could spend a lifetime researching.
One thing is for sure, “putting aside the pleasure of that delicious glass of chilled wine when you get in from work” drinking on a regular basis is not a remedy for stress, which in turn can cause long term hypertension.
So how can we manage the stress we encounter every day if we must resist the glass or two of wine?
Read more about alcohol in my Members Section titled: ‘Managing Alcohol’

MANAGING STRESS and depression is not easy, it seems from research, many people coping with stress and feeling depressed go to their doctor and walk out with tablets that come under the banner abbreviated as SSRI’s, that stands for ‘Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors’.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a class of drugs that are typically used as antidepressants in the treatment of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders. The exact mechanism of action of SSRIs is unknown.
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BEFORE we look at the medications to treat depression and other ways to manage depression, let’s look how Serotonin
Serotonin - a chemical nerve cells produce. It sends signals between your nerve cells. Serotonin is found mostly in the digestive system, although it’s also in blood platelets and throughout the central nervous system. Serotonin is made from the essential amino acid tryptophan. This amino acid must enter your body through your diet and is commonly found in foods such as nuts, cheese, and red meat. Tryptophan deficiency can lead to lower serotonin levels. This can result in mood disorders, such as anxiety or depression. Source - www.healthline.com
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could be a seriously important part in your life.
SEROTONIN, what is it? Serotonin is a chemical that plays an important part in relaying signals from one area of the brain to another, However, less than 10% of Serotonin is found in the brain, the other 90% of Serotonin is found inside the gut (the gastrointestinal tract),
The gastrointestinal tract (digestive tract, digestional tract, GI tract, GIT, gut, or alimentary canal) is an organ system within humans and other animals which takes in food, digests it to extract and absorb energy and nutrients, and expels the remaining waste as feces.
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this is often referred to as “The Second Brain”.
“The Second Brain” - A collection of neurons in the intestine that can function independently of the central nervous system and has been described as the ‘brain of the gut’. This system is responsible for intestinal motility including PERISTALSIS, the secretory function of the intestine, the control of blood flow in the intestinal wall and the regulation of intestinal immune and inflammatory reactions. Source - Collins Dictionary of Medicine
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People often speak of a “Gut Instinct” when they’re making an important decision or meeting someone for the first time! There is a connection between the mind and the gut, they are connected by a highway of chemicals, hormones and a network of neurons.
A neuron is a cell which is part of the nervous system. Neurons send messages to and from the brain.
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It’s this connection that tells the brain we’re hungry, possibly feeling stressed or eating something the body doesn’t like.
To give you an example, it’s possible when opening the post after Christmas, you find a statement from your credit card supplier indicating you owe far more than expected!!!!!
This can give you a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, this feeling happens because of the connection between your gut and your brain. When things aren’t quite right in your gut, it can send messages to the brain in your head that may put you in a bad mood, impact your emotions or cause depression. This may be made worse by taking some SSRI’s, more about this later, let’s explore the ‘Second Brain’ first.

THE SECOND BRAIN

THE SECOND BRAIN in the gut makes its own decisions, medically called “The Enteric Nervous System” It is responsible for the “Alimentary Canal” which is the passage from the mouth to the anus, around 9 metres, 29 feet long. The Enteric Nervous System is part of The Autonomic Nervous System which I’ve written about separately in my section on “Morning Hypertension”.
The second brain is responsible for digestion, contracting muscles, moving waste down the Alimentary Canal to the anus, and lots more, without any reference or assistance from the brain in your head.
THE BRAIN in your head contains only 10% of the Serotonin in the human body, however, because Serotonin cannot cross the “Blood-Brain Barrier”, it can only be manufactured inside the brain.
The medical experts talk about depression being caused by low levels of Serotonin, however, these experts have yet to determine if...
“Low levels of Serotonin cause depression”?
Or
“Depression causes Serotonin levels to drop”?
Like so many questions about the human body, more research is required.
SEROTONIN levels have an impact on every part of your body, it’s responsible for so many functions that get us through the day, when things go wrong with the levels of Serotonin in your body, it can affect you physically, mentally, emotionally and make you feel ‘you’re not’ your normal self. All these feelings are telling you, something is wrong, only you know how you feel, listen to your body, if concerned, a chat with your Doctor or Health Professional may be an option.
 
LET’S LOOK more into The Enteric Nervous System.
It’s your body’s “Second Brain” and can be a reason how your gut can cause blood pressure to rise. “Second Brain. It’s a fascinating subject, I’ve always believed “You are what you eat” also “What You Drink” The ‘Second Brain’ in your gut is continually being monitored by the brain in your head via the central nervous system, which communicates with your gut via the Autonomic Nervous System which consists of the Sympathetic Nervous System and the Parasympathetic Nervous System. Before moving on, these are some of the things the Sympathetic System is responsible for:
  • Increases Heart Rate
  • Impacts on movement of waste in large intestine
  • Can dilate (Widen) Bronchial Passages
  • Peristalsis, wave like muscle contractions moving food
  • Constrict blood vessels raising blood pressure
The Parasympathetic System does the opposite to the Sympathetic System, it’s often referred to as “The Rest & Digest System” below are some of the functions it’s responsible for:
  • Slows the heart rate
  • Raises activity of the Intestinal Glands called (Crypts of Lieberkühn) that are responsible for secreting digestive enzymes
  • Digestive Enzymes break down protein, fats, carbohydrates
  • The enzyme that breaks down protein into the body’s “Building Blocks” are called Amino Acids, generally called a ‘Protease’ The three main ones are called Pepsin, Trypsin & Chymotrypsin
  • Protein is so important to a healthy body and a healthy blood pressure. However, too much protein or too little will have an impact on your body. Unfortunately, Protein, like sleep and some vitamins, they can’t be stored in the body. Protein needs to be eaten every day to maintain a healthy body and a healthy heart. More about protein in the section on Diet & Nutrients
  • Be great if the body didn’t store fat
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Unfortunately, managing depression is not that straight forward, there isn’t a single cause, there are many reasons why people get stressed, some of the triggers are:
  • Feeling ill
  • A bereavement
  • A divorce
  • Money, Credit card debt
  • Mortgage arrears
  • Pressure at work
  • Being made redundant
My research has confirmed, it’s medically possible to be born with a genetic structure that may, make humans ‘Prone to Depression’ even so, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will become depressed in later life. On the other side of the coin, it doesn’t necessarily mean that humans born without the genetic structure are immune from becoming depressed.
Medical research has found that some humans born with genetic link to depression, have a greater percentage of developing depression, especially if blood members of their family have depression. In turn, if none of your blood family suffers with depression, you’re less likely to develop depression, I’ve said less likely to develop depression, it’s still possible with certain triggers to still become depressed.
Children can become stressed and develop depression if they live in a family environment where one or both parents suffer with depression, some children as they get older may accept depression as normal, finding it hard to get motivated, struggle with exams and have an impact on their behaviour.

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

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PRESCRIPTION DRUGS are an accepted way to manage stress and depression, however, like most medications there can be side effects, this is where it’s good to understand more about any prescribed drugs taken regularly. Reading the information included with all prescription medications will give you an indication of possible side effects. Some of the medications prescribed for depression are:
  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro, Cipralex)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil, Seroxat)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft, Lustral)
In addition to SSRI’s there are Tricyclic Antidepressants, I have read that TCA’s (Tricyclic Anti-Depressants) are prescribed when SSRI’s don’t solve the depression, some of these tablets are known as Norpramin, Anafranil, Amaxapine, Amitriptyline, I’ve listed some below with the generic name.

WHAT ARE Tricyclic Anti-depressants?

They have been around for a long time, in fact one of the earliest anti-depressants, another name for this medication is called “Cyclic Anti-Depressants” They work by making changes in the brains chemistry, which in turn allows brain cells to talk to each other, these are cells that control a persons mood and will assist in managing and relieving depression.
Like most medications, there are side effects from taking Tricyclic & Cyclic Anti-Depressants, the most common are a dry mouth, another side effect is low blood pressure, can make you feel dizzy when standing up. There are many more side effects, these don’t necessarily affect everyone, a search on the internet will list more side effects and information, especially worth reading more if young persons are taking anti-depressants.
Below are some of the Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCA’s) with generic names:

Generic NameBrand Name
AmitriptylineElavil Endep
ClomipramineAnafranil
DesipramineNorpramin
DibenzepinNoveril
DimetacrineIstonil
DosulepinProthiaden
DoxepinAdapin
ImipramineTofranil
LofepramineLomont
MelitracenDixeran
NortriptylinePamelor
NoxiptilineElronon
OpipramolTInsidon
TrimipramineVivactil
ImipramineSurmontil

DRUG INTERACTIONS are known between Tricyclic Anti-depressants (TCA’s) and other medications. I’ve listed some below:
  • Parnate, Generic Name (Tranylcypromine) is a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor prescribed for depression when people haven’t responded to other drugs, there is a possibility that TCA’s interact negatively with Parnate, it may cause convulsions and may increase the level of Serotonin in your body, this could lead on to a medical condition called Serotonin Syndrome which can be life threatening
  • Epinephrine. Generic Names (Adrenalin, EpiPen 2-Pak™,Auvi-Q™). This drug is used for emergency treatment of severe allergic reactions to insect bites, wasp stings, foods, often referred to as an ‘Anaphylactic Shock’ treated by an EpiPen which injects Epinephrine into the thigh. However, this can cause a severe interaction between Epinephrine and TCA’s and then cause severely high blood pressure
  • Catapres. Generic Name Clonidine. Taking Clonidine/Catapres with TCA’s can cause dangerously high blood pressure
  • Tagamet. Generic name Cimetidine. May affect blood levels or blood pressure
Tricyclic Antidepressants when combined with medications that block acetylcholine, which is a chemical substance secreted at the ends of many nerve fibers particularly in Autonomic Nervous System. (I spoke about the Autonomic Nervous System earlier in this section) Acetylcholine is responsible for the transmission of nervous impulses.
Drugs that block Acetylcholine (Which is a Neurotransmitter) are known as Anticholinergics, used to treat many conditions, such as slow heart rates, abdominal pain, asthma, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease}, Motion Sickness, Vertigo and overactive bladders (causing urinary incontinence). They are sometimes used during operations (before general anaesthesia) to reduce saliva production and upper airway secretions. Below I’ve listed some of the names of Anticholinergic Drugs that can only be obtained with a Doctor’s prescription.

Generic NameBrand Name
Trihexyphenidyl • Artane
Ipratropium • Atrovent
Benztropine Mesylate Cogentin
TolterodineDetrol
DarifenacinEnablex
HyoscyamineLevsinex
OrphenadrineNorflex
OxybutyninOxytrol
TiotropiumSpiriva
FesoterodineToviaz
SolifenacinVesicare

ACETYCHOLINE can also be blocked by a potent chemical that in some cases is produced in food that has been contaminated by bacteria, the chemical is called Botulinum Toxin which can lead to Botulism which is a very rare life threatening bacterial illness. It is very rare but extremely dangerous that anyone diagnosed with Botulism could cause a Public Health Emergency. However, the Botulinum Toxin is used successfully to treat several medical conditions, some of the conditions are. Strabismus, Headaches, Hypersalivation, and more.
 
For interest only, Botulinum Toxin is used to make BOTOX which is used cosmetically to temporarily paralyze muscles, by injecting Botox into the skin, this causes temporary paralysis of muscles, this cosmetically removes creases, wrinkles on the face and neck, however, the side effect of paralyzed muscles wears off in around three months.

WHAT ARE NEUROTRANSMITTERS?

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They are the brains chemical messengers also known as hormones that are responsible for communicating information between our brain and body.
Neurotransmitters are used by the brain to keep your heart beating, tells your lungs to breathe and your stomach to digest food.
Neurotransmitters also send information between nerve cells (Nerve Cells are also referred to as Neurons). However, research has shown that when things go wrong, and communication and information doesn’t work correctly, this can be a cause of depression which, as explained earlier may lead to high blood pressure.
 

TREATMENT RESISTANT DEPRESSION

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TREATMENT RESISTANT DEPRESSION (TRD) is a term used to describe patients that have a serious Major Depressive Disorder that doesn’t respond as expected to treatments where two, possibly more antidepressants have been used. This is referred to as clinical depression.
I have read online a treatment that is described as:
Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) is a ground-breaking depression treatment for adult patients who are living with clinical depression. rTMS treatment is an effective, drug-free solution for those whom antidepressant medications and traditional therapies have been unable to provide satisfactory relief.
However, treatments for this disorder should always be discussed with your Doctor or Health Professional as high blood pressure may be part of this condition.

MY RESEARCH

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My research has confirmed that depression is a complex condition, I will be writing more about depression. One thing I have realised that many experts do not fully understand how antidepressants work. Over past years, it’s the belief of medics that Serotonin, Dopamine and neurotransmitters assist in part by influencing the patients’ mood.
However, there are other factors that also play a significant part in the causes of depression, as mentioned in this section. Genetics play a part when other family members have a depressive condition, again, stress and other medical conditions. Even though there has been some major medical advances, medical experts and scientists still don’t understand how all brain functions work, and not altogether sure how antidepressants work.
Pharmacologists are continually looking for answers how medications and chemical properties work. They research drug effects and interactions in the biological system. Once clinical trials play a part in the regulation of new drugs and once approved, work with pharmaceutical companies to market new drugs. It can take many years from the time a pharmacologist starts working on a new drug, to the day a Doctor can give you a prescription. It’s the cost of research and development that makes new drugs expensive.
All the information above, relating to anxiety and stress that have been caused by a multitude of circumstances. Stress directly affects your body, it has an impact on how you feel, can change thoughts and lead to obesity and diabetes. There is now emerging research to demonstrate that stress can increase cardiovascular and all cause mortality. One thing for certain, stress doesn’t do you any favours.
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More important and worrying is that stress can release Cortisol/Adrenaline which in turn may be linked to one of the worlds major medical condition, Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) which, at this moment in time affects around one billion people. Experts around the world indicate this could rise and affect another 600 million people in the next 20/30 years. Remember, Hypertension, High Blood Pressure is quoted as “The Silent Killer”

Stress also affects the immune system

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Stress also affects the immune system which makes it more likely for people to become sick, the immune system cannot then fight off infection (Bugs), in some people this can cause ‘Cold Sores’ around the lips which is caused by a virus. However, it’s commonly accepted around seven out of ten people carry the virus medically called, Herpes Simplex Type 1, (HSV-1 or Oral Herpes) but don’t know they have it until something triggers it, one of the common triggers is ‘Stress’.
There is also Herpes Simplex Type 2 (HSV-2 Genital Herpes) this causes infection around the genitals and rectum. Both conditions can be very contagious.
Stress affects the Female body differently to the male anatomy, let’s first look at female anatomy. The problem starts when stress causes your heart rate to quicken, which in turn causes your blood pressure to rise, to combat this the brain releases hormones to cope with the body ‘Stressing Out’ This is the ‘Fight or Flight’ response. (“I explained this in the section ‘Adrenaline Changes your Blood Pressure’’)
Stress in the female body may have some of the symptoms below:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Faster Heart Rate
  • Headaches
  • Back Ache
  • Gain Weight
  • Binge Eating
  • Lowers Immune System
  • Acne, Spots
  • Fatigue
  • Exhaustion
  • Lowers Estrogen
  • Lowers Libido
  • Yeast Infections
  • Irregular Periods
  • Premenstrual Symptoms (PMS)
  • Impacts Thyroid Glands
  • Constipation
  • Makes you forget things
Stress affects the Male body in some ways like the female anatomy, the major difference being the male reproductive system, some of the conditions relating to a stress related life are detailed below.
Stress in the male anatomy may have some of the symptoms below:

  • Possibility of Prostate Cancer
  • Low Sperm Count
  • Erectile Disfunction
  • Possible Heart Disease
  • Weak Immune System
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Lack of interest in Sex
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Tension in muscles
  • Risk of Diabetes
  • Faster Heart Rate
  • Back Ache
  • Weight Gain
  • Mental Disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Cognitive Problems
  • Personality Changes
It doesn’t necessarily mean that the symptoms detailed above relating to the Male and Female body will affect everybody in the same way. Everyone knows how they feel, it’s possible some people will recognise some of the symptoms above. This would then allow an informed decision if a visit to a Doctor or Health Professional is required.
As I’ve mentioned before I’m not qualified to say that anti-depressants should, or shouldn’t be prescribed, hopefully some of the information has made it easier to understand the implications stress has on our lives. Should you have any concern or questions, please visit our Private chat room where you can post questions with your user name which keeps your identity confidential. It’s possible other Life2Moro ® members in different parts of the world may have experienced, and or have similar conditions.
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By reaching out and exchanging information, it may assist you in managing your own condition. Any changes to your medication should-first be discussed with your Doctor or Health Professional should be considered.
The subject of stress, depression and other conditions may, as explained, be a cause of high blood pressure and other conditions. The information in this section I hope has given some basic information on stress.
I’m looking to expand this section and explain in greater detail, some of subjects already covered some new. In particular, SNRI’s (Serotionin-norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor), SARI’s (Serotonin antagonist and Reuptake Inhibitor), NDRI’s (Norepinephrine-Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitors), and MAOI’s (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors), and more information on SSIR’s (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors).

So, coming back to the question
‘How can stress be managed?’

There’s no easy solution, ideally, if you can remove or manage the cause of stress, you don’t need to take tablets, you won’t have to suffer the side effects, your quality of life will improve. Let’s look at some options to lower stress, lower blood pressure which will have an impact on your Life2Moro ®.
A section on how to manage stress with uploaded in August 2018.

Don’t let yourself get pushed over the edge!


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