According to a survey, carried out by The American Psychological Association, stress is taking its toll on Los Angeles residents, even more than the rest of Americans nationwide. Los Angeles residents are more likely to suffer from chronic health conditions related to stress, such as obesity, asthma, chronic nonspecific pain and arthritis.
Stress has been linked to a variety of chronic conditions, because of the stress-induced alteration in circulating hormone levels, the most notorious being Cortisol. Cortisol increases blood sugar levels and the levels of free fatty acids in your blood. This predisposes the chronically stressed to sugar cravings and hunger pangs, leading to an increased risk of obesity. Another dangerous action of cortisol is in the inhibition of the immune system and repair processes in the body. The list of morbidities associated with chronic stress keeps expanding, included on it are depression, memory impairment, heart problems, autoimmune conditions and sleep troubles.
An annual, nationwide survey is conducted online and measures such variables as overall job satisfaction, work-life balance, efficiency of stress management, perceived sense of healthiness, recently diagnosed chronic conditions and medically-diagnosed obesity. The survey also measures the reported causes of stress. In 2010, more Los Angeles residents cite the economy and financial concerns as primary causes for their stress, compared to the 2009 survey.
So is it all doom and gloom for Los Angeles residents? The answer, thankfully, is no. The survey also shows that fewer LA residents blame themselves for having for lacking willpower, or time, to implement healthy lifestyle changes. Most attributed their diminished feeling of healthfulness to an actual health concern or disability barrier.
Stress keeps proving to be a major health problem in the United States, year after year. The first step in reducing the dangers of stress-related diseases is identification of key causes of stress, then successfully managing them through learning relaxation techniques and guided imagery and seeking professional consultation when things get out of hand. Stress management is identified as of paramount importance by a whopping 62% of Los Angeles residents, but only 34% of the residents feel like they are doing a good job managing their stress.