In some cases, the cause of obesity in an individual can be put down to stress. High levels of stress can trigger the release of cortisol, which can result in weight gain. Our sensitivity to insulin can be lowered in the aftermath of events that cause us stress. Such events include surgery or general work-related or emotional stress. Resistance to insulin refers to a lack of balance between glucose and insulin in our blood. This can be worsened by poor living habits.
Cortisol and Glucose
When stress occurs, cortisol levels rise. This leads to a release of glucose from the liver into the blood stream, thus creating an unwanted knock on effect of rising glucose levels. Glucose stimulates the production of insulin. This process can have negative consequences, including Insulin Resistance.
Noradrenalin is partly responsible for insulin resistance. It is a hormonal chemical created as a result of stress. In some women, glucocortoids like cortisol also play the part of stress-release chemicals. Hormones such as these can lead to an increased level of abdominal fat storage and raised levels of glucose.
If our bodies store a high amount of insulin, it can result in the storage of unused glucose as fat. This carries with it the risk of raised cholesterol and blood pressure. It can also lead to the formation of artery-clogging plaque and kidney dysfunction. Some people might be stress-eaters, which can result in a vicious cause and effect type circle.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Insulin resistance and other related factors can also lead to the above condition, known as PCOS. This condition can lead to further risk with regard to the possible onset of pre-diabetes and thus type 2 diabetes. Diabetes carries risks with regard to blindness, kidney disease and other problems.
Weight gain and obesity can lead to Syndrome X. This can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Some symptoms of this condition include high LDL cholesterol levels and low “good” cholesterol levels. An increase in triglyceride levels might also occur. These factors create a high risk of heart attack or stroke.
In order to combat the negative effects of stress-related weight gain, one should attempt to reverse Insulin Resistance. To do so, it will be necessary for an individual to manage their stress levels as much as possible. However, this is not the only precaution that needs to be taken. A full regime of nutraceuticals, exercise, nutritional guidance and a support network might be required.