Chemical Elements

L is for Learning

Learn about Cortisol and its link with Stress

13 March 2020

As stress management and recovery coaching is my expertise, I felt it was appropriate to give you information that can help you understand your body when going through prolonged periods of stress.

I have previously talked about people not acknowledging stress and the serious consequences of prolong stress. This is often due to the fact that it has become accepted as ‘normal’. It is far from ‘normal’ to have prolonged stress and it needs to be managed otherwise it will ultimately lead to chronic stress.

Today I am going to introduce you to learning and understanding some basic facts about cortisol.

Cortisol is a hormone that works as a key player in the body’s stress response. Cortisol plays a vital role in the body’s functioning; it is secreted by the adrenal glands and is involved in the following key functions:
• Proper glucose metabolism
• Regulation of blood pressure
• Insulin release for blood sugar maintenance
• Immune function
• Inflammatory response

Cortisol levels can fluctuate among individuals and in the same people at different times in the day. It can also fluctuate based on what a person is experiencing especially but not inclusively to the body’s stress response. It is responsible for several stress-related changes in the body. Small increases of cortisol have some positive effects, such as:
• A quick burst of energy for survival reasons
• Heightened memory functions
• A burst of increased immunity
• Lower sensitivity to pain
• Helps maintain homeostasis in the body.

**Too Much Cortisol and Stress**

While cortisol is an important and helpful part of the body’s response to stress, it’s important that the body returns to normal after a stress response so the bodys’ functions can return to normal.

Higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream (such as those associated with chronic stress) have been shown to have negative effects, such as:

• Impaired cognitive performance
• Suppressed thyroid function
• Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia
• Decreased bone density
• Decrease in muscle tissue
• Higher blood pressure
• Lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body, slowed wound healing, and other health consequences
• Increased abdominal fat, which is associated with a greater amount of health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body. Some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat are heart attacks, strokes, developing metabolic syndrome, higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), which can lead to other health problems
If you can relate to these symptoms you may want to have some time to reflect on whether you are allowing yourself to accept stress into your life and have become accustomed to the stressors around you.

It maybe that you are aware of stress in your life but aren’t sure how you can move away from it! If this is you please don’t hesitate to contact me for a free 15 minute consultation. There are ways to manage it right now whilst you putting plans in place to make the changes you need


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Lisa Vescio