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Managing Stress Promotes Healthy Cortisol Production

When taking steps to improve your health, keeping stress levels low is as important as your diet and exercise routine.

Stress is the body’s normal reaction to change, according to Cleveland Clinic. High levels of stress can be detrimental to your health. The major causes of stress are work, money and healthcare. Six out of 10 adults attribute money and work as significant sources of stress, according to a survey of 3,617 adults conducted by the American Psychological Association. Many Americans also cite mass shootings, discrimination and climate change as major causes of stress in 2019, the APA reports. Juggling work assignments, family commitments and social activities keeps many Americans busy. Crowded calendars are challenging, but when a busy lifestyle causes stress, it’s time to be concerned.

Any Lab Test Now offers a fast and convenient test to determine if your body is feeling the negative effects of stress. The Cortisol Hormone Test is the least invasive way to measure the level of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands and regulated by the hypothalamus, a part of the brain, and the pituitary gland. Cortisol is a crucial hormone that helps break down fat and protein. It stimulates liver glucose production and helps maintain blood pressure and regulate the immune system. Cortisol is the body’s main stress hormone. It is responsible for boosting energy during a stressful situation, according to the Society for Endocrinology. Chronic stress can cause cortisol levels to remain high and have a negative impact on your health.

Symptoms of high cortisol

Too much cortisol can wreak havoc on your health. Some of the signs your body is producing too much stress hormone are:

  • Weight gain
  • Acne, thinning skin and bruising
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue, irritability and difficulty concentrating
  • High blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Cushing’s Syndrome — a relatively rare disorder that could result from taking glucocorticoid-steroids for a prolonged period, or an adrenal tumor.

If left untreated, high cortisol levels can cause a host of problems, including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and mental health issues. High cortisol production in women over a prolonged time can decrease sex drive, the Society for Endocrinology reports.

Symptoms of low cortisol

Low cortisol can be life-threatening and may be due to a problem with the pituitary gland or the adrenal gland. Addison’s Disease occurs when the adrenal gland fails and is extremely rare, but is treatable with cortisol replacements, according to the Society for Endocrinology. The symptoms of low cortisol include:

  • Fatigue and mood changes
  • Dizziness
  • Weight loss and muscle weakness
  • Darkening of regions of the skin

Lower cortisol levels naturally

If your Saliva Cortisol Test from Any Lab Test Now comes back high, there are natural steps you can take to manage your cortisol level, in addition to visiting your physician.

  • Sleep. Being well-rested reduces your body’s stress levels.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise helps people sleep better, which can lower cortisol production at night.
  • Learn to relax. Practicing mindfulness or meditation can help you identify your stress level and keeps your body from overproducing cortisol.
  • Eat healthy and drink plenty of water. Dehydration can increase the production of cortisol.
  • Find a hobby. Taking time each day for fun activities that you enjoy can help reduce stress.

Impacts of medication

Certain medications can alter cortisol levels. Corticosteroid medications used to treat chronic conditions like asthma and arthritis can raise cortisol levels. Oral contraceptives and other estrogen medications also impact cortisol levels. If you feel like your medication might be interfering with your cortisol levels, please consult with your health care professional.

Get tested at Any Lab Test Now

With more than 180 locations nationwide, Any Lab Test Now can help decrease your stress by making sure your cortisol is at an optimum level. Most test results will be given to you within an average of one to three days. Any Lab Test Now offers affordable, direct-access healthcare that fits your busy lifestyle. Visit your local Any Lab Test Now to take control of your health today.