Cortisol, the wonderful hormone that wakes you up every morning can also potentially put you to your eternal sleep. This latter effect however is insidious and not only does it fulfill this function very slowly but it works completely under the radar.
Let’s not forget however that cortisol is an essential hormone without which none of us would be alive today. Things go awry on the other hand when our cells get a chronic high exposure to this hormone.
- Immune system dysfunction which may simply lead to more frequent colds and infections, allergies and hypersensitivity reactions and at a more complex level affect the onset and/or progression of some cancers!
- memory impairment (Stress hormones are known to influence the brain region in control of high level “executive” functions such as working memory, decision making, mental flexibility and attention).
- Adrenal Fatigue & Chronic fatigue syndrome (chronic stress leads to the debilitation of the adrenal glands).
- Increased blood sugar levels cause a rise in insulin levels and a chronically high insulin leads to insulin insensitivity >>the cause of Type II diabetes, poly cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), metabolic syndrome, central obesity & chronic inflammation among other dis eases and syndromes!
Not wanting an over-expression of this hormone then, there are a number of pro-active measures one can take to maintain its balance. Lifestyle factors such as sleep, physical activity, diet and relaxation/meditation practices are essential. However, when our stress is beyond what healthy lifestyle habits can handle, other means of treatment may be required; including botanical medicine, supplementation and acupuncture (the World Health Organization states that acupuncture is useful as adjunct therapy in more than 50 disorders including those that are stress mediated).
Cortisol levels can also be measured in order to assess the extent of adrenal dysfunction and to determine best course of action if necessary. Salivary cortisol levels can be assessed by your Complementary medicine practitioner who would then devise your individualized adrenal care program. To learn more about salivary cortisol testing, visit Rocky Mountain Analytical: http://www.rmalab.com/index.php?id=10