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How Stress Affects Your Cortisol Levels

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What is Cortisol Hormone?
As your body puts through stress, your adrenal glands secrete the cortisol hormone into your bloodstream. Also called the ‘stress hormone’, it increases your heart rate and regulate the blood pressure. It a ‘fight or flight’ response that keeps you alive.

Its Importance for Body
The normal levels of cortisol are secreted when you wake up in the morning. These levels of this hormone help to regulate your blood pressure and blood sugar levels and make the heart muscles strong.
Its anti-inflammatory effect helps keep your body healthy. It also has an impact on your immune system, memory, cognitive function, and overall brain health. It regulates your immune system and helps fight off diseases that attack your body.

How it is Related to Stress
Although normal levels of cortisol are essential for a normal daily functioning, it tends to increase in response to stress. When you’re in a stressful situation, your cortisol levels increase. This hormone prepares your body to run or fight (fight or flight) in response to threats.

Impact of High Stress
If you always remain in high-stress mode, your body will constantly release the cortisol that helps in controlling your stress response. Getting cortisol hormone in increased quantity can lead to severe health issues such as suppressed immune system, digestive problems, heart disease, weight gain, trouble concentrating and trouble sleeping. Also, you are at a higher risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems. The high levels of stress are problematic.

Symptoms of High Cortisol Levels
In the present hectic lifestyle, high stress levels have become just like a regular background noise in our lives and therefore, identifying your high cortisol levels is quite tough.
Apart from constant feelings of stress, there are some symptoms such as frequent mood swings, lower sex drive, changes in your menstrual cycle (short or long bleeding), weight gain especially around your abdomen or face, slow healing of injuries.

Manage Your Cortisol Levels
When it comes to lowering your cortisol levels, you firstly need to manage your stress. In order to reduce stress, you must go for regular physical workout. Exercise releases endorphins that help reduce cortisol levels. Also, eat a healthy and balanced diet, so your body gets all the essential nutrients it needs. Take time to relax, spend time with people and indulge in activities you enjoy.