The Causes & Symptoms of Stress - Cortisol.com

The Causes & Symptoms of Stress

What Is Cortisol?

Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced in the adrenal gland similar to estrogen and testosterone.

The Stress Response

Cortisol is a chemical hormone produced by your body to manage stress. The stress can be physical, mental and emotional. Cortisol continues to be released when the stress continues.

Effects of Cortisol

Cortisol releases glucose into your bloodstream and increases blood pressure for increased physical activity such as running or fighting. Your brain is stimulated for more intense awareness. Immune system activity is reduced to save energy for physical activity.

Cortisol taps energy from your body’s most-easily available sources. Muscle tissue is skimmed to produce glucose for energy. Triglycerides are mobilized from fat tissues. Short-term stressors and even cyclical daily variations cause elevated cortisol levels that are normal and healthy to provide energy for different activities. Cortisol levels in the blood are usually higher in the morning to provide energy.

When physical activity to solve the stressor is used, the energy components produced by cortisol are used by muscles, nerves and other tissues. Glucose and triglycerides are consumed by the cells providing activity. When cortisol levels remain elevated for long periods of time (chronic stress), you may perceive a need for extra calories and over-eating is a common result.

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