Cortisol, a hormone that the adrenal cortex produces in response to stress, prepares the body to react to potentially dangerous situations. It increases the level of sugar in the bloodstream and the brain's use of glucose, while curbing non-essential bodily functions, such as those that support repr
Prolonged elevation of cortisol can cause weight gain and fatty tissue deposits around the midsection, upper back, face, and between the shoulders, explains Mayo Clinic. Other symptoms include pink or purple stretch marks on the abdomen, thighs, breasts and arms; thinning or fragile skin; and acne.
Cortisol levels indicate how much of the hormone cortisol is in a person's blood, WebMD reports. Doctors test for cortisol levels to reveal potential issues with the adrenal or pituitary glands.
Symptoms of low cortisol include nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, fever and joint pain, states Healthline. Other symptoms of low cortisol are loss of appetite, dramatic changes in blood pressure, weakness, chills and fatigue.
To reduce cortisol, Christopher Bergland for Psychology Today recommends exercising daily with aerobic activities; meditating to reduce stress; maintaining good relationships and friendships; and doing enjoyable activities that improve mood. Registered dietitian Dina Aronson for Today's Dietitian al
Some conditions that have been linked to high cortisol levels are a weakened immune system, abdominal obesity, hypertension and hyperglycemia, according to an article published by the University of New Mexico. Prolonged elevated levels of cortisol, and the physical changes and potentially serious co
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), cortisol levels vary throughout the day. Cortisol peaks in the morning, and normal blood cortisol levels at 8 in the morning usually range from 6 to 23 micrograms per deciliter. Different laboratories may use different ranges.
To reduce cortisol levels, Prevention recommends managing chronic stress by meditating, getting extra sleep at night, incorporating small naps into the day, getting a full-body massage, and listening to calming music. Chewing gum and drinking black tea are also thought to activate the body's relaxat
A low level of cortisol in the blood may be indicative of adrenal gland problems, such as tuberculosis infection of the adrenal glands or Addison’s disease, according to WebMD. Lower than usual levels of cortisol can also be caused by pituitary gland problems.
The normal cortisol value for both adults and children is 5 to 23 micrograms per deciliter in the morning or 3 to 16 micrograms per deciliter in the afternoon, according to WebMD. The normal cortisol value for a newborn at any time is 2 to 11 micrograms per deciliter.