Stress

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All of us are familiar with the feeling of being under constant stress and feeling tense. Stress, to which both our body and mind are susceptible, can be caused by a variety of things: a chronic infection, lack of exercise or excessive sport, exhaustion, malnutrition, allergies, financial worries, fear of the future, to name but a few. On the other hand, positive events can also cause stress, such as planning a wedding or giving birth, even if this happens subconsciously.

Unfortunately, our body cannot differentiate between whether we are actually in a life-threatening situation or, in fact, a daily situation – in both cases the body answers with the same biochemical process, the fight-or-flight reaction. In this condition the body produces a lot of stress hormones, especially cortisol and adrenalin. The fight-or-flight reaction is a genetic inheritance from the Stone Age, when we still had to escape to safety from dangerous animals, like the sabre-toothed tiger, while hunting. In moments of stress our blood pressure and sugar levels increase rapidly and our muscles become tense so that we might escape as quickly as possible. At this moment we are more energetic, more motivated, the mind is sharpened and the immune system is shut down.

The perception of apparently dangerous situations triggers the production of adrenalin and its adversary cortisol. The cortisol helps us to overcome these situations as quickly as possible and protects us from stress overload. If we find ourselves constantly in stressful situations, our bodies, especially our brains, become flooded with the chemical messenger cortisol. For this reason, an excessive cortisol level can indicate that we are overstressed and can have detrimental effects on our health: A high cortisol level, for example, can cause obesity. People who have high cortisol levels over a longer period of time also have a considerably higher risk of suffering from burnout.

Verisana offers the possibility of determining your hormones using a saliva test. The various samples can be easily collected by yourself, in the comfort of your own home. Saliva tests are the recommended test form from the World Health Organisation (WHO), for the determination of hormone levels.

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