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How Stress Affects Your Health

stress effectsApril is National Stress Awareness Month. Stress is a normal part of life, and as bad as it sounds you can benefit from it in small, well balanced amounts. Our bodies have an innate natural defense system that helps protect us from potential danger, but, after a certain level of activity it stops being useful and starts to have a negative impact on one’s quality of life. The stress response is triggered by any emotional or physical change that disrupts your emotional balance. When it is working properly, it keeps you focused, energized and alert. When you have an overactive, hectic lifestyle it can but you into a constant state of pressure, anxiety and excessive worry. When this happens your body gives you warning signals that you should pay attention to. Johns Creek Family Medicine, serving patients from South Forsyth, Gwinnett, North Fulton and the surrounding North Atlanta area, can help you find ways to relieve stress and reduce the symptoms that drain your body of energy and initiate pain, headaches and a host of other physical maladies.

How Stress Affects Your Body

If left untreated chronic stress induces serious complications that alter your body, mood and behaviors. Symptoms range from mild to severe and may include one or more of the following: high blood pressure, headaches, obesity, depression, panic, pain and insomnia. A high degree of stress also raises cholesterol levels, which increases your risk for strokes and heart attacks. Being aware of the common signs and symptoms of stress can help you take control before stress levels begin to get out of control. It is important that you pay attention to what conditions, triggers, or events makes you feel overwhelmed so that you can take preventative measures to avoid these situations. The following list outlines the most typical symptoms of stress and those that impact your ability to function:

• Weight Gain
• Lack of Concentration
• Heart Disease
• Chest Pain
• Depression
• Fatigue
• Memory Loss
• Frequent Colds
• Digestive Problems
• Anxiety
• Increased Heart Rate
• Angry Outbursts
• Substance Abuse
• Reduced Sex Drive

How to Manage Stress

There are ways to lessen stress to help restore the harmony and balance in your life. Dr. Zack recommends that you focus on activities that make you feel happy and confident about your choices. He offers trying some of these ideas that can assist you in taking control of your health and stopping the effects of stress from taking over your life.
• Exercise—exercise is essential for stress management. Find an activity level that helps release tension and improve your mood.
• Personal Care—Try to eat right, get plenty of sleep, limit tobacco use and, alcohol consumption.
• Learn to Relax—Mediation, yoga, and deep breathing puts your body in a restful state that clears the mind and calms the body.
• Have Fun—Make an effort and plan regular outings. Go to dinner, see a movie, or take a walk.

When to See Dr. Zack

If you are unsure of what is causing your symptoms or if they persist after taking steps to minimize stress you should schedule an appointment to visit Dr. Zack. It is possible that symptoms may be caused by other health problems, so a full evaluation to accurately diagnose your condition may be needed. Removing stress from your daily routine is imperative to sustaining a productive life. The overarching idea is to work toward creating a stress-free environment, and in particular learn how and when to let go of what you can’t control. One of Johns Creek Family Medicine’s specialty areas is helping patients cope with daily life stresses through incorporation of preventative medicine, proper nutrition, a positive outlook and healthy lifestyle changes. Conveniently located near Peachtree Parkway and McGinnis Ferry Road, directly across from Emory Johns Creek Hospital on Hospital Parkway, Dr. Charkawi is accepting new patients in South Forsyth, Gwinnett, North Fulton and the surrounding North Atlanta area.  Make an appointment today – you deserve to start living a less tense, more contented lifestyle.

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