Managing Stress and Liver Disease
Stress is not good for any of us, it can lead to serious health issues and depression. Stress is the body's reaction to a situation that seems harmful. When we get stressed, our body releases hormones and chemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine. Over time, continuous stress can be harmful to our health, and especially as liver patients, to our livers.
Looking at the research
In a recent publication in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, researchers found that when a person is stressed, natural killer cells expand in the liver. In some cases, this contributed to liver cell death and made the liver disease worse. The study also found that stress was found to weaken blood flow in the part of the brain that controls the liver, which could lead to or trigger liver damage. The researchers concluded that there seems to be a negative association between stress and liver disease.1
Let's look at symptoms of stress:2
- Difficulty relaxing and quieting your thoughts and mind
- Feeling agitated, frustrated, and moody
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Avoiding others
- Low energy levels
- Upset stomach, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea
- Aches, pains, and tense muscles
- Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
- Frequent colds and infections
- Loss of sexual desire
- Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
- Grinding Teeth
Tips for managing stress
Finding ways to deal with everyday stress is important to managing your liver health and insuring you are protecting it the best you can. Some strategies include:
- Getting plenty of rest and sleep
- Eating well-balanced meals
- Doing yoga
- Hydrating (drinking plenty of fluids)
- Talking with someone about what you are feeling
Stress and liver health
Many times, we try to manage stress all on our own, not realizing how critical it can become if we remain in a stressed state for long periods of time. If you are finding that nothing you are trying is helping you ease that stress, talk with your doctor. There are various ways and medications that can assist lowering the effects of stress on your health, and not only your liver health, but also your heart, stomach and other major organs.
Stress is in everyone's lives. No one is immune to experiencing stress, but when you have a serious health condition like hep C and liver disease, you need to take extra care and do all you can to combat the stress hitting you. If you find yourself in the heat of stress, don't wait either, get help immediately- That is the only thing you have going for you in protecting your liver from further damage.
Did you experience early symptoms or warning signs of hep C?