Cortisol is one of the hormones released by your adrenal glands at the time of a stressful situation to elicit an appropriate 'fight or flight' response from you. It is one of the best weapons in your arsenal for self preservation. Cortisol also helps in metabolising glucose, reducing inflammation and controlling blood pressure. Constant stress causes cortisol levels to go out of whack, wrecking all sorts of havoc in the body. Here are some signs you need to de-stress and lower your cortisol levels.
Weight gain: No matter what you do, your weight doesn't seem to budge. In fact, it keeps increasing even after exercising and eating right. The culprit here is cortisol which causes upper body obesity and a bigger waistline.
Sleeplessness: It's a chicken-or-egg situation, sleep deprivation causes elevated levels of cortisol in the body, which in turn results in sleep disturbances. Cortisol levels peak in the early morning and decrease in the evening. If the levels increase during the night, it could most likely cause insomnia.
Reduced sex drive: Excessive cortisol levels affect your libido. That's probably why you are not in the mood for sex during stressful times.
High blood pressure: If your blood pressure levels are going out of control, it's a sigh of high cortisol in the blood.
Bone problems: High levels of cortisol interfere with formation of bones, which gimay lead to osteoporosis.
Muscle weakness: Too much cortisol can leave your muscles feeling sore and weak. Muscle pain and fatigue are symptoms of excessive cortisol.
Acne: Expect your skin conditions like acne to flare up when you go through too much stress.
Impaired immune system: Cortisol has an immunosuppressive effect in the body, which means it weakens your immune responses. This leaves you more susceptible to colds and infections.
Depression: Feeling sad and unmotivated during a stressful time is common. But these mental conditions could also be caused by the cortisol surge.