Consider cortisol as nature’s built-in alarm system. It’s your physique’s fundamental stress hormone. It really works with sure elements of your mind to manage your temper, motivation, and concern.
Your adrenal glands — triangle-shaped organs on the prime of your kidneys — make cortisol.
Cortisol performs an essential function in plenty of issues your physique does. For instance, it:
- Manages how your physique makes use of carbohydrates, fat, and proteins
- Retains irritation down
- Regulates your blood strain
- Will increase your blood sugar (glucose)
- Controls your sleep/wake cycle
- Boosts vitality so you’ll be able to deal with stress and restores stability afterward
How Does It Work?
Your hypothalamus and pituitary gland — each positioned in your mind — can sense in case your blood incorporates the precise stage of cortisol. If the extent is simply too low, your mind adjusts the quantity of hormones it makes. Your adrenal glands choose up on these indicators. Then, they fine-tune the quantity of cortisol they launch.
Cortisol receptors — that are in most cells in your physique — obtain and use the hormone in several methods. Your wants will differ from each day. As an example, when your physique is on excessive alert, cortisol can alter or shut down capabilities that get in the best way. These may embody your digestive or reproductive programs, your immune system, and even your development processes.
Generally, your cortisol ranges can get out of whack.
Too A lot Stress
After the strain or hazard has handed, your cortisol stage ought to relax. Your coronary heart, blood strain, and different physique programs will get again to regular.
However what in the event you’re beneath fixed stress and the alarm button stays on?
It may possibly derail your physique’s most essential capabilities. It may possibly additionally result in plenty of well being issues, together with:
Too A lot Cortisol
A nodule (mass) in your adrenal gland or a tumor within the mind’s pituitary gland can set off your physique to make an excessive amount of cortisol. This may trigger a situation referred to as Cushing syndrome. It may possibly result in speedy weight acquire, pores and skin that bruises simply, muscle weak point, diabetes, and lots of different well being issues.
Too Little Cortisol
In case your physique doesn’t make sufficient of this hormone, you could have a situation medical doctors name Addison’s
illness. Often, the signs seem over time. They embody:
In case your physique isn’t making sufficient cortisol, your physician might prescribe dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, or prednisone tablets.