U.S. physician, James L. Wilson, is featured to present a series of thought-provoking lectures on stress at “Prevention: The Future of Health & Medicine,” the 4th Annual Conference in Anti-Aging & Aesthetic Medicine hosted by the Australasian Academy Of Anti-Ageing Medicine (A5M) in Melbourne, Australia, August 20-22, 2010.
An expert on stress and endocrine function, Dr. Wilson brings attention to the impact that today’s unprecedented stress levels are having on health. “Regardless of the source, all stress affects the adrenal glands and their production of the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol which profoundly influences all major physiological systems in the body,” said Dr. James L. Wilson.
“It is the job of the adrenal glands to enable the body to deal with stress and survive. Highly stressed lifestyles can result in chronically elevated levels of cortisol which may eventually fatigue the adrenals and lead to low cortisol production,” said Dr. Wilson, one of the first to identify adrenal fatigue as a diagnosable condition and author of [i]Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome.[/i]
Adrenal fatigue (adrenalfatigue.org) is a pervasive syndrome that doctors see regularly in their clinics, yet often fail to recognize as a diagnosable and treatable condition. What’s more, according to Dr. Wilson adrenal fatigue and metabolic syndrome are two faces of underlying stress disorders.
Dr. Wilson notes that it is important for doctors to recognize the link between metabolic syndrome and adrenal fatigue and to understand that both conditions can actually occur concurrently in the same person. “These conditions can arise as stress maladaptations and are intimately related, yet are often slow to be recognized, if at all, by conventional medicine,” said Dr. Wilson.
Cortisol has a profound effect on every organ and system in the body. Both low and high cortisol can negatively sleep, libido, mood, concentration, blood sugar metabolism, energy and immune function, among other things. Stress normally causes elevated cortisol levels, but in adrenal fatigue, the output of adrenal hormones, particularly cortisol, has been diminished by over-stimulation. With each increment of reduction in adrenal function the body is considerably more affected.
Adrenal fatigue generally produces low cortisol levels, low blood pressure, low blood sugar and fatigue that leaves people feeling chronically below par and limping through life. People experiencing adrenal fatigue often overeat because they try to drive themselves with salty or sweet foods.
Symptoms of metabolic syndrome include high cortisol levels, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, fatigue, and a “spare tire” of weight around the middle. Metabolic syndrome often causes a fairly rapid fat gain, especially around the belly, and left unchecked, predisposes a person to diabetes and heart disease.
“Metabolic Syndrome was identified 20 years ago and we are only now realizing the devastating effect on the overall heath, morbidity and even mortality,” Dr. Wilson said. The condition is widespread among the adult population in developed nations and some studies have estimated the incidence could be as high as half of the population in some age groups. “We are seeing skyrocketing rates of abdominal obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.”
One of the tools Dr. Wilson recommends to assess adrenal function is a saliva hormone test. It measures the amount of cortisol and other adrenal hormones inside the cells where they are active. Neither blood nor urine tests correlate with the hormone levels inside the cells and do not accurately assess the impact of stress on a person’s health – something often misunderstood by the medical community.
Dr. Wilson believes that stress disorders such as adrenal fatigue and metabolic syndrome can be reversed with a program of lifestyle changes including a balanced diet, stress management, adrenal support and regular relaxation.
“There is a tremendous amount we can do to naturally balance the effects of stress on our bodies and compensate for stressful life events and stressful lifestyles,” said Dr. Wilson. “During stressful times, strong adrenals and the ability to maintain physiological and biochemical balance can not only help people protect their health and continue to do whatever they must, but also to stay positive – an essential element of survival and success,” said Dr. Wilson.
A scientist as well as a physician, Dr. Wilson holds three doctorate degrees and two master's degrees, all from different health disciplines. He is listed in The International Who's Who in Medicine (Cambridge, England), and was one of the founding fathers of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) in Toronto, Ontario.