High Cortisol Levels: How Do They Put Your Health At Risk?

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High cortisol levels can cause great damage to a person’s physical health. Before learning about how these damages are caused, you must know what the term ‘cortisol’ actually means.

In its simplest definition, Cortisol is the ‘stress hormone’ present in your body. Besides, here is some more information about cortisol:

  • Cortisol is also known as ‘stress hormone’ or ‘hydrocortisone’ (in medical terms).
  • It is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands (in a human body).
  • Cortisol is also regarded as your body’s natural alarm system because it plays an important role in protecting your body.
  • It (cortisol) responds to our body’s stress. So, it stops the stress from causing any harm or damage to your body.
High Cortisol Levels: How Do They Put Your Health At Risk?
High Cortisol Levels: How Do They Put Your Health At Risk?

Our body has innumerable cells with cortisol receptors.  These cells receive the cortisol and use it for functions like:

  • Regulating blood sugar
  • Formulating memory
  • Regulating metabolism
  • Reducing inflammation

What Are High Cortisol Levels?

The cortisol hormone plays an important in the functioning of your body. However, too much of this hormone can cause certain damages, accompanied by many unwanted symptoms, to the body. High cortisol levels hit a person when their ‘adrenal glands’ start making too much of cortisol.

High cortisol levels can trigger a condition called ‘Cushing’s syndrome’ in a person. This condition basically hits a person with abnormally high cortisol levels. Symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome include:

  • Unexplained weight gain in a person.
  • Purple coloured stretch marks on certain parts of the body including the abdomen, arms, thighs and breasts.
  • Slow healing of injuries, cuts or bruises on the skin.
  • Thinning of skin and so, making it prone to cuts and bruises.
  • Weakness in muscles of the entire body.
  • Fatigue, acne, rounding of face (in moon shape) owing to fatty deposits, etc.

Apart from the above-mentioned symptoms, Cushing’s syndrome can also trigger lighter symptoms like:

  • Increased thirst
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Constant headache
  • Osteoporosis – A condition affecting the bones
  • Increased urination
  • Irritability
  • High blood sugar
  • Hypertension

Cushing’s Syndrome In Children

Children (of all ages) can develop this condition. However, it is more common in adults as the percentage of adults developing Cushing’s syndrome is much higher. According to a 2019 survey conducted in the United States, about 10 per cent of Cushing’s syndrome patients (every year) are kids.

Kids affected by Cushing’s syndrome can develop the following symptoms:

  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • A slower rate of growth

Ways To Deal With High Levels Of Cortisol

High Cortisol Levels: How Do They Put Your Health At Risk?
High Cortisol Levels: How Do They Put Your Health At Risk?

There are many ways to control your cortisol levels. Apart from taking the doctor’s help and medications, you can control your cortisol levels in the following ways:

  • By having a good diet. So, try including eatables like bananas, dark chocolates, pears, yoghurt, foods containing soluble fibre, black or green tea, etc. in your diet. This will help in stabilizing your cortisol levels.
  • Having good and satisfactory periods of sleep because it is really important for maintaining good cortisol levels.
  • Relaxing. So, try practicing things like meditation, yoga, etc. in your everyday life.
  • Laughing and smiling more often.
  • Trying to find more reasons to stay happy in life.
  • Drinking plenty of water every day.
  • Taking up your hobby and keeping yourself engaged.
  • Learning to let things go with ease.
  • Saying no to caffeine (in any form) especially at night.
  • Maintaining a healthy bedtime routine.
  • Having a pet and cherishing it.
  • Having good and healthy relationships with the people around you.

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