Cortisol or also known as hydrocortisone is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal cortex to combat stress, normal levels of cortisol is important to maintain a good quality life and health, low levels of cortisol can adversely affect the quality of your life causing a series of undesired symptoms both physically and psychologically.
Learn more about the significance and functions of cortisol below.
What Is Cortisol?
Cortisol is a steroidal hormone produced by the zona fasciculata, the middle of three layers that form the adrenal cortex that is located in the kidneys and regulated by the pituitary gland in the brain. The hormone plays an important role for the immune system, regulating blood pressure cardiovascular system, metabolism and more.
Cortisol is also nicknamed as the stress hormone due to its importance in the fight or flight response that prioritize the important body functions under stress that the body is experiencing.
Synthetic cortisol can be used to Rea various diseases like some types cancer, psoriasis, inflammatory disorders and more.
However high dosage of synthetic cortisol over a long period of time can result in unpleasant symptoms like high blood pressure, thinning of the limps, obesity, water retention and reduced natural cortisol production in the body.
Prolonged stress can also cause an elevation in cortisol levels which in result lead to the undesired symptoms of high cortisol levels.
Symptoms Of Low Cortisol Levels.
The body experience low cortisol levels when the adrenal gland fail to produce sufficient levels of cortisol that meets the body needs, the condition is called hypoadrenalism, however the condition is popularly known as Addison’s disease, it is an autoimmune disease where the immune system produce antibodies to attack and destroy the adrenal cortex, these antibodies can be detected in the one’s blood long before huge damage to the adrenal cortex is done.
The symptoms of low cortisol levels or hypoadrenalism include:-
. Mental and psychological ailments like depression.
. Faintness and dizziness.
. Constant fatigue even after a long sleep.
. Inability to cope with stress.
. Emotional hypersensitivity.
. Muscle weakness.
. Heart palpitation.
. Extremely sensitive sun.
. Dull lower back ache.
. Hunger pain or abdominal pain.
. Constant craving for salty foods.
.Nausea, diahrea and vomiting.
. Insomnia and dark circles around the eyes.
. Motion sickness.
. Irregular or absent menstruations.
. Low bladder capacity.
Of course all those symptoms will not be experience at once or immediately, someone that suffers from low cortisol levels may experience one or two of the symptoms or one after the other, if one or a combination of the symptoms apply to you severely enough to affect the quality of your life then you should consult a doctor.
However there is a situation where one or more of the symptoms of low cortisol will start to manifest suddenly and acutely due to a condition known as Addison’s crisis, this happens due to a sudden drop in cortisol levels, it can be experienced suddenly or after experiencing one or more of the symptoms listed above for a short duration of time.
. Treatment Of Low Cortisol.
Patients with low cortisol levels will most likely be prescribed oral hydrocortisone to make up for the lost cortisol levels, the patients will have to regularly check their cortisol levels throughout the day starting from before the first dosage in the day. A hydrocortisone regime will be designed to mimic the body’s natural way of producing cortisol, high in the morning and decreasing as the day passes.
Cortisol supplements should only be prescribed when there is a sever low cortisol levels otherwise the adrenal cortex will stop producing cortisol completely and depend on the supplements.