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The Risks of Chronic Stress

Posted Jan 08 2009 12:00am

Over the last few months, I’ve shared information on how stress negatively affects the body, appearance and aging in order to develop awareness. It is my hope that many can use this to their benefit to create a better quality of life. There was a recent article on CNN.com about the aging of U.S. Presidents. It was very compelling because it truly shows the effect of chronic stress on the body. It has been determined that modern Presidents age two for years for every year in office due to the chronic stress they are under. So just what does this mean? It means that 8 years as President actually adds 16 years to one’s age in terms of risk of disability or death. The chronic stress can accelerate wrinkles, turn hair gray, cause weight changes, as well as cause premature death. In fact, twenty five of the last thirty six U.S. Presidents died earlier than predicted. 

Why does this happen? It is thought that stress levels are just too high to manage and the consistently elevated level of stress hormones in the body never allows the person to get back in balance. Even with exercise and sound eating, the stress of the world on your shoulders does not go away. Some experts also think that Presidents may have a lack of real friends that they can talk to, to discuss certain matters, so they become isolated and cannot de-stress. Although many of us don’t have the stress of running the country, we all have individual stress that may make us feel like we have the world on our shoulders at a given time. It is so important to manage that stress and not let it eat at you. Discuss your stressors and concerns with trusted friends and/or family members as a release and an outlet.

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