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Adrenal Function, Cortisol and Stress

The majority of us are familiar with stress in and how it can impact us. You may have heard of adrenal fatigue, which is a syndrome related to stress. Digestion problems, high blood pressure, trouble sleeping and so on can all be symptoms of stress or adrenal gland dysfunction. Most people do not know what cortisol is or what role it plays in the body and our health.

Cortisol is a hormone that is produced in the adrenal glands that sit atop of the kidneys in the lower back. We need cortisol to help regulate blood sugar, control immune responses, maintain blood pressure as well as modulating anti-inflammatory actions. It is important to have cortisol produced by the adrenal glands in times of stress, but it is necessary for cortisol levels to return to normal after the stressful event.

When the body has chronically elevated levels of cortisol this can lead to problems like impaired cognitive performance, decreased thyroid function, high blood sugar, decreased bone density, insomnia, loss of muscle tone, high blood pressure, lowered immune function and/or increased belly fat.

On the other hand when the adrenal glands are fatigued and they can not produce enough cortisol people can experience symptoms such as trouble concentrating or cloudy-headedness, decreased thyroid function, hypoglycemia,  morning and mid-afternoon fatigue, insomnia, hypotension and inflammation.

Cortisol levels in the blood naturally fluctuate throughout the day and most people can recover from times of stress in their lives, however, large amounts of stress or prolonged periods of stress can impair the adrenal functions and lead too much or too little cortisol.

If you are concerned with how stress is impacting your body or would like to know how your adrenals are functioning the Doctors at Green Apple Health Care offer testing that can find your cortisol levels. Improving the way your body copes with stress can help with your immune system, blood sugar, weight loss, sleep, energy and more.