Among its functions, cortisol stimulates bodily activities on awakening: It influences carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism, helps regulate blood pressure, and improves the stability of blood vessels. Cortisol is also vital for immune function (it fends off bacteria and viruses) and helps mobilize against inflammation. However, escalated levels of cortisol can actually suppress immune function.
Symptoms of high cortisol include the following:
- High blood pressure
- Weakened immune response
A cortisol imbalance may result in:
- Weight gain
- Bone and muscle loss
- Foggy thinking
Often called the “stress hormone,” cortisol protects your body when emotional stressors or emergencies arise. When the stress subsides, the brain sends a message to stop cortisol production to normalize levels. But if you’re under chronic pressure and stress, elevated cortisol levels may saturate your body. Over time, these elevated cortisol levels lead to fat accumulation, blood sugar problems, fatigue, bone loss and immune system impairment. Chronic stress (physical or emotional) can also eventually exhaust the adrenal glands, resulting in abnormally low cortisol production – an insidious cycle that can cause premature aging of tissues and total body burnout.
High stress levels and poor nutrition may both contribute to an imbalance in the levels of cortisol. As elevated or lowered levels of cortisol may lead to a host of health problems, it is imperative to have lab work completed to determine your levels. Corrective measures for high cortisol levels include balanced hormones, Relaxation Response Training (RRT), eating an appropriate, anti-inflammatory diet, and the correct physical activity.
So how do you know if you have a cortisol imbalance? If you’re in the West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, or Los Angeles area, schedule an evaluation with Age Management / Hormonal Optimization expert Dr. Mike Carragher. If you live out of the area, we can take care of you as well, requiring only an annual visit to The Body Well for your anti-aging Age Management Program. Dr. Carragher will request a blood panel, schedule a comprehensive evaluation, and discuss the best individual treatment options for you.
Call (323) 874-9355 to book an evaluation, or for more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org