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If you ask someone what causes them stress, you’ll get many different answers. Stress can be found in every person’s life. For some, it’s their job or their relationships. It can be bills or it can be the pressure of dealing with a family crisis.
Whatever the stress is, when it happens, your body kicks into gear and releases a hormone designed to make it easier for you to handle the stress in your life. All your body’s hormones are important.
They’re responsible for your health – from your brain to your skin, from your organs to your sex life. All of these hormones work for you, but out of all of them, it’s cortisol that is front and center whenever you’re dealing with stress.
You might think that cortisol is just the stress hormone but it isn’t. It does more for the body than just deal with stress. When your body needs it, your adrenal glands will release amounts of cortisol throughout your body.
The hormone works to keep your blood pressure within a normal range. It also does the same for your glucose levels. It makes sure that your immune system is functioning correctly.
The hormone works quietly in the background making sure that your body has what it needs. When you get stressed, whether it’s a life and death matter or not, cortisol charges in.
When it’s released, it sharpens your cognitive and physical abilities, gives you a boost of energy and prepares you for fight or flight. This is all done in an instant and is your body’s survival response.
You might think that a hormone that’s intended to protect you is a good thing and that you can’t get enough of a good thing. But actually, with cortisol, that’s not true. When cortisol levels get high and stay high, your body is constantly on edge.
It remains in a state of fight or flight and that’s when cortisol becomes the silent killer.
High levels of cortisol can cause you to have brain fog, impair your immune system and your thyroid, raise your blood pressure and cause an abundance of unhealthy body fat.
You end up remaining in a circle of stress and feel like nothing you try can lower the cortisol levels. There are some natural methods as well as diet and lifestyle changes you can implement that can treat unhealthy cortisol levels.
But in some cases, intervention with prescription medication is needed. Women who feel that their cortisol levels might not be normal should see their doctor to get these levels tested so it can be treated. The two most common tests are through a blood or saliva test.