Available for Interviews: Dr. Alice Fong
Alice Fong, ND, is an integrative naturopathic doctor specializing in stress, integrative medicine, diet & weight loss, and is a business growth consultant for holistic healthcare providers.
What Dr. Alice Fong can say in an interview
Anxiety is characterized by feelings of fear, worry, dread or uneasiness often as a result of difficult thoughts and/or life circumstances. When a person feels anxious, their stress response gets activated, also known as the sympathetic nervous system. Staying in a prolonged state of anxiety or stress can lead to a lot of detrimental effects on the body and lead to certain medical conditions.
Here are some of the possible long-term health consequences of being constantly anxious all the time.
- Hypertension. When we are anxious, our bodies enter a state called the “fight or flight mode.” Physiologically what happens is that we breathe faster, our heart rate increases, we might sweat, and our blood pressure rises. The body is gearing up in response to a perceived threat or danger. So understandably, if we are anxious and fearful all the time, it can lead to elevated blood pressure more frequently. And persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious conditions such as heart disease, strokes, heart attacks, and kidney disease.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome. If your body is in an anxious state, blood is rushing to the heart to beat it faster so you can run away from danger. Therefore, less blood is flowing to our intestines to promote digestion and can lead to symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, and nausea. The opposite of the sympathetic nervous system is called the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for “rest & digestion.” Our bodies need to spend the majority of the time in the parasympathetic state to encourage healthy digestion.
- Insomnia. Sleep problems are common for people with anxiety. Our brains can be so busy with stressful thoughts such as worrying about the future or all the things we need to do. And then when we have trouble sleeping, we can develop anxiety about whether or not we will fall asleep, thus making it even harder to sleep. It’s a vicious cycle and developing a mindfulness practice, as well as having good sleep hygiene is critical to breaking the cycle.
- Weight Gain. When we are feeling anxious, the stress hormone cortisol is released into the bloodstream. Elevated cortisol levels can increase appetite and stored fats, and inhibit testosterone production. Testosterone encourages muscle growth and a healthy metabolism, so lowered testosterone levels can make it harder to lose weight.
- Migraines/Headaches. People with migraines or frequent headaches often report stress as a common trigger. Anxiety can lead to muscle tightness which impacts blood flow and subsequently result in a headache.
When anxiety has gotten so bad to the point of leading to health conditions such as these, it’s important to seek professional help from a naturopathic or functional medicine doctor who can evaluate if the anxiety is the cause of the health condition and create a plan of action to help reduce or resolve the issue.
Interview: Dr. Alice Fong
Known as the “Virtual Stress Doc,” Alice Fong, ND, helps busy professionals break free from their stress and anxiety so that they can focus on what matters to them using a 5-step holistic approach. She is the founder and CEO of Amour de Soi Wellness, which offers one-on-one wellness programs, corporate wellness workshops, e-learning, and resilience training courses.
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