World Health Day by Dr Shanika
Since 1950, World Health Day has been celebrated on April 7th. Its purpose is to bring important health issues to the forefront of discussion; raising awareness of preventative measures to educate us to take control of our own health and wellbeing.
Here at Nuriss we nurture a strong ethos of inner wellness creating outer radiance, and as not only a skincare but a wellness clinic, we promote a holistic approach for each of our patients looking at medical, nutritional, psychological and social factors in every case.
I commonly see my patients actively engaged in their health: seeking nutritional advice, getting regular exercise, and making active efforts to quit smoking and moderate their alcohol intake. However, in equal measure, I see patients juggling high pressured work, difficult relationships, family commitments and compulsory travel.
And what does this result in? Stress.
Stress is an inevitable side effect of life and whilst it may have some evolutionary benefits more often than not it can be quite unfavourable in the modern world.
Research is increasingly demonstrating the powerful influence stress can have. Mounting evidence suggests that it can alter how genes express themselves through epigenetics, resulting in changes on a cellular level, as well as the potential to structurally change our brains affecting the way it functions in terms of mood, memory and cognition.
Stress can be divided into three categories: acute, episodic and chronic.
Whilst acute stress (widely thought of as the fight or flight response) has some benefits: focusing on you impending deadline or successfully catching that flight, it can also have short and long term impacts on your health affecting your body’s physiological processes. Exacerbations of existing medical conditions such as migraine, stomach ulcers and back pain can occur and even trigger new onset symptoms like chest pain, depression and difficulty breathing. Stress can also trigger inflammatory skin processes such as eczema and rosacea, as well a increasing your long term cardiovascular risk.
So, what can we do to help ourselves?
Ensuring that we eat well, exercise regularly, practice mindfulness through meditating, yoga, or knitting (my personal favourite!) can help to combat stress. But just as important, seeing your doctor for regular health MOTs is advised. Monitoring the trends in your lipid profile, your kidney and liver functions, and your sugar levels through your HbA1c via blood tests can aid in preventing chronic disease exacerbated by stress. Regularly checking your blood pressure and heart rate can allow us to devise preventative measures early on, reducing your long term risk.
This World Health Day make an effort to keep your stress levels in check, and book in to see your doctor.
Your body will thank you for it.