What is Cortisol?
Cortisol is a glucocorticoid steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Glucocorticoids in general transport messages to the cells via the bloodstream to regulate inflammatory responses, metabolism, and the sleep-wake cycle. Cortisol is specifically responsible for helping regulate the body:
- Stress response
- Inflammatory response
- Blood pressure
- Blood sugar
- Sleep-wake cycle
What About Cushing’s Syndrome?
Chronic high cortisol, also known as Cushing’s syndrome, is a medical condition that results from your body producing too much of the hormone cortisol for a long period of time. Cushing’s syndrome can be identified by the following symptoms:
- Fat deposits on the face, between the shoulders, and on the abdomen
- Unexplained weight gain
- Purple stretch marks
- Thin skin
- Injuries that are slow to heal
Causes of Chronic High Cortisol
There are many contributing causes to high cortisol levels, including:
- Problems with the pituitary or adrenal glands
- Estrogen imbalances
- Side effects from certain medications
Diagnosing Chronic High Cortisol
If you are exhibiting signs of high cortisol, your doctor will likely order a combination of diagnostic tests to confirm the diagnosis and eliminate possible conditions that have similar symptoms. Common diagnostic tests for high cortisol include:
- Blood screening
- Urine screening
- Saliva screening
- Imaging tests to see the adrenal and pituitary glands
Treating Chronic High Cortisol
Once your doctor has confirmed a diagnosis of high cortisol, it’s time to get to work bringing that cortisol level down. Your treatment will be based on what is causing the high cortisol levels in the first place. For example, if the cause is a side effect from taking the prescription medication prednisone, your doctor will recommend an alternative medication. If the cause is a tumor on the adrenal gland, your doctor will refer you to a surgeon to have the tumor removed.
If you believe you have high cortisol levels and would like to be evaluated by a medical professional, use our free and easy search tool at www.regenerativemedicinenow.com to find a regenerative medicine practitioner in your area. Physicians and complementary medical professionals who incorporate regenerative medicine into their treatment modalities are able to offer patients treatment options beyond just the traditional, allowing patients who have been resistant or unresponsive to traditional treatments an opportunity for healing and health.
What Happens If High Cortisol is Left Untreated?
It is dangerous to leave high cortisol levels untreated. Along with the issues that come along with weight gain, long-term high cortisol sufferers might begin to experience:
- Digestive issues
- Chronic headaches
- Muscle tension
- Sleep disturbances
- Insulin resistance
- Cognitive impairments
Untreated high cortisol levels have also been linked to cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. If you believe you are suffering from symptoms of high cortisol levels, seek medical attention as soon as possible to avoid further medical complications and impact on your life.