Stress and GAS- General Adaptation Syndrome

Stress- What is it?
When we think of stress, we think of negative stress, or “distress.”  Positive events can also elicit the same physiologic response; wonderful surprises, getting married, passion, athletic competition, throwing a party – all might create that over stimulated response.  Hans Selye identified the responses to stress in a book called, The Stress of Life.  Through scientific research, mostly with rats, he observed three stages the physical changes the body went through and called it general adaptation syndrome (GAS).
Do you have GAS?
1.     The alarm reaction, involving increased adrenal secretions and nervous system stress.
2.     The stage of resistance, involving the balancing of the adrenal stress hormones affect on water and electrolyte balance and carbohydrate metabolism.  The “true adaptation” to stress.
3.     The stage of exhaustion, involving the depletion or exhaustion of the adrenal glands’ ability to make adrenal hormones.

Hans Selye simplified this very complex set of responses, however this three stage model is still the most commonly used in defining the state of the human body’s level of stress.
What are adrenal glands, exactly?
Wikipedia:  In mammals, the adrenal glands (also known as suprarenal glands) are the triangle-shaped hormone producing glands that sit on top of the kidneys; their name indicates that position (ad-, "near" or "at" + -renes, "kidneys"). They are chiefly responsible for regulating the stress response through the synthesis of corticosteroids and catecholamines, including cortisol and adrenaline.
The adrenal gland is separated into two distinct structures, both of which receive regulatory input from the nervous system:
As its name suggests, the adrenal medulla is the central core of the adrenal gland, surrounded by the adrenal cortex. It is the body's main source of the catecholamine hormones adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine). These water-soluble hormones are part of the fight-or-flight response initiated by the sympathetic (stress) nervous system.
The adrenal cortex (outer layers) is devoted to making corticosteroid hormones from cholesterol. Some cells belong to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and are the source of cortisol synthesis. Other cortical cells produce androgens such as testosterone, while some regulate water and electrolyte concentrations by secreting aldosterone (important in blood pressure). The cortex is regulated by hormones secreted by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, as well as by the renin-angiotensin system (blood pressure).

While the brain and nerves control the adrenal glands, the secretions of hormones from the adrenal glands affect nearly all of the tissues of the body.  The adrenal hormones affect how other hormone levels are managed by other glands and nerves in the body.  Adrenal function or dysfunction has its roots in many of the diseases we see today.
Too much inflammation: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, arthritits, headaches
Emotional Hormones:  Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia, Mood Swings, Irritability, Poor Learning, Poor Short Term Memory
Blood Sugar Problems: Hypoglycemia, Chronic Fatigue
Hormone Imbalance: Low Thyroid Function, Hypothyroid, PMS, Infertility, Severe Menopause, Insulin Hormone Resistance
Metabolism:  Fat accumulation around the waist (Truncal Obesity)

Worried about too much adrenal stress?  The body provides DHEA to save the day. DHEA is important to modulate many body responses.  It promotes growth and repair, and acts to negate many of the harmful effects of excess cortisol.  The ratio of cortisol and DHEA is critical to keep you safe from the negative over dose of cortisol a stressed person can have.  The danger occurs over extended periods of time where the cortisol demand is high, DHEA levels decline, and DHEA is no longer able to counter-regulate the negative effects of increased cortisol.

Your Response to Stress
How bad are you?  If you are the average American, you are living with many of the above adrenal dysfunction relates problems.  You are medicating your self with over-the-counter drugs or scouring the vitamin store shelves for “help.”
Spit in a bottle?  Yes, adrenal stage of exhaustion is determined with this simple, inexpensive, non-invasive test.  The Salivary Adrenal Stress Test.  Four samples of saliva are donated over a day and evaluated in the lab for adrenal cortisol levels and hormone DHEA levels.
Come to the office to receive the screenings tests for Adrenal Exhaustion.  Dr. Doreo will perform these tests, ask a few questions, and determine if you qualify for The Salivary Adrenal Stress Test for Adrenal Exhaustion. 
No matter whether you suffer hormone imbalance, thickening around the waist, blood sugar irregularity, IBS, emotional stress, or aches and pains, your health is important.  Your response to chiropractic, massage, physical therapy, and medications can be affected by your adrenal health.    Recommendations for your personal Adrenal Repair Kit follow the interpretation of your results in less than two weeks.
Get you energy back now!  Do something about it.
Receive a free brief Adrenal Health Screening at Dr. Doreo’s office when mentioning you read this article.  This is a $90 value.

May 2008


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