Is Stress Affecting Your Memory?

In a new study done by scientists at Harvard Medical School researchers looked at the impact on stress in relation to physical health. Their research revealed that individuals who deal with chronic stress are impacted in several different ways. Not only can stress make you more irritable and tired continuously it also has an impact on our ability to focus.

Oxygen for patientChronic stress interferes with our physical health in many ways. Other than being constantly tired and unable to focus it seems to exacerbate a wide range of health conditions such as diabetes, gastrointestinal problems and heart disease.

How Stress Impacts Hormones

Cortisol is a hormone that the body uses to regulate blood sugar control metabolism, reduce inflammation, and assist with memory. Cortisol has many different uses in the body and is produced when we experience stressful conditions. When cortisol is produced in excess it can cause many different symptoms. Some of these symptoms include depression, anxiety, irritability, cognitive difficulties, headache, sphere fatigue and muscle weakness.

Scientists at Harvard discovered that individuals with high levels of chronic stress also had high levels of blood cortisol. They also showed poorer memory in individuals with high levels of stress and high levels of cortisol when compared to peers with regular cortisol levels. Significantly, impaired memory existed in these people even prior to apparent signs of dementia.

They classified individuals as having high, middle, or low levels of cortisol, where middle levels represented the regular cortisol level series of 10.8– 15.8 micrograms per deciliter.

These outcomes stayed constant even after the researchers had adjusted for appropriate customizing elements, such as age, sex, smoking cigarettes routine, and body mass index (BMI).

At the start of the research study, all the volunteers offered blood samples. The group gathered them in the early morning, after a proper fasting duration, so that the blood test outcomes would be precise.

Blood pressure checkResearchers asked each individual to go through a mental test. They likewise examined each individual’s memory and focusing capabilities. For the function of the research study, they examined these capabilities once again after a typical duration of 8 years.

Particularly, the scientists were interested in determining the individuals’ levels of blood cortisol, which is a hormonal agent launched primarily in reaction to stress. After examining cortisol levels, the private investigators divided the individuals into groups according to their outcomes.

Researchers discovered that those in the high cortisol producing high stress related group showed signs of memory loss and brain shrinkage.

An Interesting Find

Interestingly one study coming from Japan published in PubMed showed that supplementation with a combination of Lysine and Arginine was able to normalize stress response in humans. The two supplements are usually not used together because they compete for absorption within the body. However in this study they seemed to have beneficial results when used together.

What is Atherosclerosis?

Symptoms of Atherosclerosis
Prevention of Atherosclerosis
Supplements that Produce Nitric Oxide

Blood Clot in the LegAtherosclerosis is a condition where arteries narrow due to a building up of a plaque on the artery walls. Arteries function by transporting blood from the heart to other body parts, and they are lined with a thin layer of cells called endothelium, and these inner cells are responsible for a smooth flow of blood throughout the body.

The early stages of Atherosclerosis entail damage to the endothelium. In such instances, the damaged endothelium cells are repaired by cholesterol. When cholesterol is introduced, the body responds by sending a type of white blood cell to clean up this cholesterol. If there is a failure in the cleanup process then there will be a buildup of a plaque, which consists of cholesterol, calcium, macrophages, and other blood substances.

Oxygen for patientWhen plaque continues to build up in the artery wall flow of blood can be hindered. This hindrance means the blood will clot more, and this can cause life-threatening implications. If the plaque breaks open, there is an accumulation of platelets across the affected area, which in turn form blood clots. Blood clots can cause a block in the artery, and the result of this is usually a life-threatening condition, which could involve a heart attack or a stroke.

Symptoms

Atherosclerosis may begin to manifest as early as adolescence, during which streaks of white blood cells are noticed on the walls of the arteries.

Symptoms of Atherosclerosis in Carotid Arteries

Known to transport blood to the brain, the blockage of these arteries can cause stroke, along with such symptoms as inadequate breathing, headaches, paralysis, facial numbness, and weakness.

Coronary Arteries

Since coronary arteries transport blood to the heart, a buildup of plaque in this area will mean a limited blood supply to the heart and may cause angina (pain in the chest) and heart attacks. The symptoms include chest pains, vomiting, coughing, severe anxiety, and dizziness among others.

Renal Arteries

The kidneys get blood through the renal arteries. Thus, a blockage means a limited supply of blood to the kidney, which in turn leads to chronic kidney disease. However, the affected individual may show such signs as loss of appetite, inability to concentrate, and swelling of the hands and feet among others.

Treatment Options

Several treatment options are available for Atherosclerosis. They include:

Changes in Lifestyle: This entails healthy diet, physical activities, and weight management. The affected individual may be advised to take foods with soluble fiber while avoiding alcohol, sodium, and saturated fats.

Medication: Anti-platelet medications will avert the accumulation of plaque or prevention of blood clots. Statins may also be prescribed for a reduction in cholesterol level, and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors to reduce blood pressure.

Surgery: In extreme cases, surgical procedures like coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) and angioplasty may be recommended. In angioplasty, the artery is expanded, thus opening the blockage, and subsequently the free flow of blood. CABG involves the use of arteries from other body parts to bypass a narrowed coronary artery, thus improving overall blood flow.

Prevention of Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis can be prevented. In fact, the prevention of the development of Atherosclerosis is a very viable means of treating the condition. Here are the steps to significantly reduce the chances of a plaque building up:

Diet: Saturated fats are bad for the body as they increase levels of bad cholesterol. Foods like olive oil, seeds, nuts, avocados, oily fish, and walnuts are high in unsaturated fats. Thus they reduce the level of bad cholesterol and consequently fight Atherosclerosis.

Exercising: When the body is subjected to adequate exercise, the fitness level is improved; the blood pressure lowered, and considerable weight loss.

Avoiding Smoking: Smoking is known to raise blood pressure, alongside being one of the key risk factors for Atherosclerosis. Hence, it is recommended that individuals stop smoking as soon as possible, and consult their doctors on ways to give up and manage withdrawal symptoms.

Causes of Atherosclerosis

When the inner area of the artery is damaged, the implication is Atherosclerosis. And such damages can be caused by high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, smoking, and high levels of cholesterol.

Supplements That Produce Nitric Oxide

There are many natural supplements on the market today that help the body to produce nitric oxide.   Scientists have discovered that nitric oxide is an important molecule that improves the health of the endothelium cells. Remember it’s those cells (the inner lining of the arteries) that become damaged and allow for a buildup of plaque. Keeping the endothelium cells healthy is one of the keys in combating atherosclerosis.