Here's a hot tip: Stop stressing so much about financial losses.
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Start thinking about the effects of high stress on your health. Sure, the issues in the financial markets are real. DJI last month.
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But whether you are a trader, finance pro or an ordinary investor fretting over an IRA, there are health hazards, long-term and short-term, mild and serious, that can wreak hormonal havoc on your mind and body, causing burnout, depression, hair-graying and loss. And those are the milder maladies. Read More Time to panic? Not yet. Let's start at the top of the body. The advent of computerized trading means most traders no longer even stand and physically trade stocks and bonds in the pits of Wall Street and Chicago.
Everything is done online, which means hours hunched at desks staring at glowing computer screens. Eyestrain, shoulder or neck pain, and headaches ensue. Stress and bad eating habits lead to fatigue, foggy thinking, bad judgment, weight gain and stomach problems. Stress also can lead to more serious symptoms, such as irregular heartbeats, and self-defeating self-medication, such as heavy drinking and dangerous drug-use habits. Then there is the extreme: The recent market stress in China also has resulted in at least one case of suicide. Think that's rare?
The global financial crisis led to more than 10, suicides in the U. High stress isn't always visible. It requires measuring the hormone cortisol. Spikes and elevated levels can lead to increased sugar levels that may induce pre-diabetes or weaken immune systems. Stress can also diminish other hormones—testosterone, serotonin and dopamine, in particular. Good-bye sleep. Good-bye sex drive. Good-bye feeling good. Read More Is stock selloff the sign of a recession? Yes, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs can alter chemical imbalances in the brain and reduce some stress-related mental health issues.
But they come with some of their own unpleasant side effects, and are probably an imperfect solution, especially if they are being used to mask one or more underlying issues rather than to provide a cure. A better hack: Get up early; go to the gym. Exercise is the single best way help combat stress and depression.
Keep It Up
Boxing helps get rid of aggression. Running or cycling helps tone muscles and brings fresh oxygen to the lungs. Nutrition matters, too, and eating healthy foods are better than popping food supplements. They say this helps them track hormone levels and ensure patients are receiving the correct doses.
Certain women in the study taking pharmaceutical estrogen plus progestin experienced higher rates of overall illness and death than those taking a placebo. Many patients went off the drugs cold turkey, and some doctors stopped prescribing them. Subsequent analysis has suggested that for women in their 40s and 50s, hormone therapy is safer than the study concluded.
While patients on pharmaceutical hormones need to weigh the benefits and risks, the same goes for those on compounded bio-identicals, many doctors said.
Keep It Up [PDF]
That would involve putting people in a study for decades, with half on hormones and half on a placebo. Last fall, More magazine engaged a lab to test 12 bioidentical prescriptions collected from compounding pharmacies throughout the U.
The analysis revealed that the hormones were of unreliable potency. One of the biggest dangers the analysis unearthed was a shortfall of progesterone in 11 of out of the 12 prescriptions. Women on hormone therapy who still have a uterus need progesterone to counterbalance the estrogen and reduce the risk of uterine cancer.
Shah uses one compounding pharmacy, in upstate New York, to fill the prescriptions he orders for his patients. He has visited the pharmacy himself and said he feels confident of its safety. He chooses to limit his relationships to just one pharmacy so he can be assured of its quality and focus on close communication with the pharmacy staff. Doctors who prescribe bio-identicals often discuss the cosmetic benefits that they can confer. These hormones can help build lean muscle and restore collagen to the skin, the thinking goes.
Paul Frank, a cosmetic dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon in New York City who sees patients who are using bioidentical hormones that other physicians have prescribed for them. Travel that keeps the heart and brain healthy.
What to Read Next
Cholesterol drugs: Do you need them or not? Follow her on Twitter elizobrien. Elizabeth O'Brien covers retirement for MarketWatch. You can follow her on Twitter elizobrien. Economic Calendar Tax Withholding Calculator. Retirement Planner. Sign Up Log In. The changes include a new, responsive design featuring extended-hours data and more news. Learn More. Why your doctor wants to be your hormone guru.
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