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Stress.  Another word that is used so frequently that we have been de-sensitized to its meaning.  It comes in many forms.  Job, family, financial…and yes, health stress.  What I would like to discuss here a bit is how stress sets the stage for poor health and potential cardiac risk.

I have mentioned the endothelium before in many of these blog posts.  How important it is.  How it is ‘stressed’ and especially how diet and nutrition play such a vital role on how and even if it functions.  The endothelial cell (EC) is the primary site of vascular wellness.  Billions of these cells line the highways and bi-ways of our circulatory system…ever waiting to respond to potential risks of inflammation, irritation and poor-diet induced stressors.

This functional system if spread out would cover over 8 tennis courts.  In concert, these cells communicate to formulate a healthy defense and adaptation to preserve homeostasis in the body.  They regulate via chemical messengers vascular tone and structure.  And our good messenger friend, nitric oxide (NO), is one of the most important agents of normal function.  It’s tasks include regulating vascular tone, participating in nerve communication and maintaining the messenger and mediator links in our immune response.  It is the great relaxer…or de-stressor of the blood vessel.  With proper levels of NO present, the blood vessel walls relax, open and allow movement of life-giving blood with all its important constituents….not the least of which is oxygen.

When the endothelium is over-taxed, stressed and non-functional…the initial stages of atherosclerosis, diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol imbalance, oxidative stress (basically cell by cell destruction)…the ability of the endothelium to produce nitric oxide, and other important messengers, begins to fail.

An over abundance of free fatty acids (maybe you just ate at McDonald’s?) and inflammatory inducing particles lead to endothelial stress and lack of function.  It is said we are what we eat…well when it comes to cellular stress and eventual death…we become what we eat.

Metabolic Syndrome, the result of our poor nutrition choices, is the primary destructor of the endothelium.  Dietary modification, exercise, wellness practices such as chiropractic care, mediation, yoga, rest….all of these will prevent this very preventable “syndrome” and allow your endothelium to live!  As we see obesity and diabetes becoming increasingly common, it might be a good idea to RUN in the other direction!

Health is the result of a multitude of small, relatively easy choices.  When lost, health can be difficult and eventually impossible to regain.  Most all would agree that health is our greatest personal asset.  An advantage that many would pay any price for.  Preserve your endothelium.

Stress comes in many forms and from a multitude of sources…however it can be recognized and avoided.  Give your heart a gift this Christmas…

IN-JOY wellness today and this season!