Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands during periods of stress, or states of agitation. It is also referred to as the “stress hormone.” This hormone is not only an indicator of stress levels, however. It is also needed in the body to help perform everyday functions. Cortisol deficiencies can also produce physical symptoms in the body, as well as cause disease.
Cushing’s Syndrome is a disease that may occur when a person is exposed to high levels of cortisol for an extended period of time. Approximately 10-15 per million people will develop this condition each year. Signs and symptoms of this disease include elevated blood pressure, development of diabetes, pink-to-purple stretch marks on the abdominal skin, fatigue, depression, moodiness, and accentuated fatty tissue on the face and upper back.
Different treatment options are available to those who suffer from excess/deficient cortisol and mostly depend on the cause of the excess or deficiency.
Individuals who may need Cortisol:
- Highly active athletes
- Women who are in their third trimester of pregnancy
- High-Stress Lifestyles
- People with depression, anxiety, panic disorder
- Individuals who take certain medications like diuretic spironolactone and estrogen hormone therapy
Cortisol is the only hormone that normally increases with age. Overall, an excess of cortisol can lead to a struggling immune system, thinning bones, increased fat deposition, and increased insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes and heart disease. It is not as common to have a cortisol deficiency. A body that is deficient may display sings of fatigue, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, and insomnia.
Benefits of Cortisol
- Stress Control
- Body Weight/Fat Regulation
- Balances Blood Sugar
- Improves Bone Turnover Rate
- Improves Sleep
At Arizona Integrative Medical Center, P.C., Dr. Stallone, N.M.D. strives to uncover the underlying cause of the symptoms that each individual displays, therefore tests patients’ cortisol levels in order to lead him or her in the right direction and bring his or her levels back to normal.