Cortisol problems: how to know if it is toxic to you

It's nothing new if we say that stress is one of the great 21st century problems. From early morning we go in a hurry, and although we spend eight or nine hours of our life in complete rest, sitting in front of a computer, when we get home we are mentally exhausted and with the nerves of the end due to the lack of exercise and the thousand problems that have arisen throughout the day. Thus, for five days a week, with the permission of the 'weekend', in which we drag so tired The only thing we want is to lie on the couch to watch life go by.

Does that affect Our organism? Of course, the answer is positive. Specifically, when we talk about stress, we must mention the cortisol hormone, which is released in response to this anxiety or when you have a low level of glucocorticoids in the blood. Normal values ​​depend on the time of day and its clinical context, but usually 10 μg / dl is normal, although when it is in levels Very high can reach 80.

Cortisol generators and consequences

Of course, we will not want to have an elevated cortisol level, for the account that brings us, but what factors can increase it? In addition to the low glucose levels we have talked about before, it is also important to mention:

  • The Lack of sleep
  • The stress emotional or depression
  • The infections
  • The cold excessive
  • Sometimes, an excess of activity physical

And that it happens to your body When do cortisol levels skyrocket? Well, actually, many things.

  • Skin problems From acne to psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis or rashes. Also, you are likely to have more propensity for bruising.
  • In the pancreas Unfortunately, cortisol may also have to do with weight gain, because elevated insulin segregation leads to increased fat in the abdomen and organs (which in turn can lead to diabetes).
  • The immune system When there is less immunological activity, infections, inflammations or chronic diseases may increase.
  • Heart. Increase heart rate, cholesterol and concentration.
  • Muscles and joints. Aches, inflammations … can even affect the digestive system and produce gastritis or constipation.

What a picture, you'll think, right? The worst is increased cortisol levels It also causes problems in the brain. It decreases concentration, increases anxiety, depression, panic attacks and disrupts sleep. Just a moment! At first we said that the lack of it can trigger it, therefore it is a vicious cycle … the less you sleep the more you get stressed and, therefore, the less you can sleep.

How to detect it

Knowing all this is fine, but it's no use if you don't really know if your cortisol is in the clouds or not. It is quite difficult to fight stress, because it is really an evolutionary and adaptive response that the organism has to face a situation that is interpreted as a threat, whether tomorrow you have to deliver a paper or that you will eat a Tiger. The brain then sends a signal to the glands adrenal to release the hormone.

We need stress, but in large doses the concentration decreases, increases anxiety, depression, panic attacks and alters sleep

Therefore, we need cortisol, but when it remains constantly it can become a problem. And in Spain it seems to be normal, because according to Statistics National Institute, work stress affects more than 40% of employees and around 50% of employers (and women have the dubious honor of being the most stressed in Europe). So how do we recognize that we have the triggered levels?

These are some of the signs:

  • You have humor changes, you have trouble concentrating, you forget things
  • Although you sleep well notes that your productivity has gone down and you're tired, you lack energy
  • You increase of weight unexplained and stretch marks on the skin of the abdomen
  • When you catch a cold or get hurt, it takes you long time to heal you
  • It hurts head often
  • Excessive hair production in the facial area and you notice the face more round than usual
  • If you are a woman, notes the menstrual cycle altered

As you can see, they are many and varied, so if you meet any or think you might have it, the best thing you can do is go to the doctor to request some blood tests and be evaluated, to check.

Fighting stress is not an easy thing, much less, but you can implement some measures to prevent your cortisol levels from rising. Among them are staying hydrated, sleep convenient hours (between six and eight), avoid processed foods and caffeine, perform regular physical activity (but never in excess), do not take too heavy meals and, if necessary, choose natural herbs (infusions, capsules …) that can have anti-stress effects and help you fight it.