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Cortisol

cor·​ti·​sol

Cortisol is the main stress hormone produced by your adrenal glands and is involved in the “fight or flight” response. It affects energy levels, blood pressure, digestion, and your sleep/wake cycle. Chronic stress can lead to high cortisol levels and is known to affect heart health¹ and stress is known as a long-term risk factor for high blood pressure or hypertension². Abnormal levels of cortisol—either too high or too low—could indicate Cushing’s syndrome or Addison’s disease. Healthcare professionals may need to conduct additional tests to determine the cause of abnormal levels of cortisol.

The cortisol test measures whether your cortisol levels are high or low, which may be a sign of an adrenal gland condition or that lifestyle changes need to be made.

References

  1. Levine GN, Cohen BE, Commodore-Mensah Y, et al. Psychological Health, Well-Being, and the Mind-Heart-Body Connection: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation 2021;143(10):e763-e783.
  2. Ming EE, Adler GK, Kessler RC, et al. Cardiovascular reactivity to work stress predicts subsequent onset of hypertension: the Air Traffic Controller Health Change Study. Psychosom Med 2004;66(4):459–465.
Last updated:
August 17, 2021

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