Cortisol is a steroid hormone hormone that regulates a wide stove of full of life processes throughout the body, including metabolism and the immune reception. It besides has a very authoritative function in helping the body answer to stress .
Alternative names for cortisol
What is cortisol?
Cortisol is a steroid hormone, one of the glucocorticoids, made in the cortex of the adrenal glands and then released into the blood, which transports it all round the soundbox. Almost every cell contains receptors for hydrocortisone and therefore hydrocortisone can have lots of unlike actions depending on which screen of cells it is acting upon. These effects include controlling the body ’ s lineage sugar levels and thus regulating metabolism, acting as an anti-inflammatory, charm memory formation, controlling salt and water balance, influencing blood blackmail and helping growth of the fetus. In many species cortisol is besides creditworthy for triggering the processes involved in giving birth .
A similar version of this hormone, known as corticosterone, is produced by rodents, birds and reptiles.
How is cortisol controlled?
blood levels of hydrocortisone deviate throughout the day, but by and large are higher in the dawn when we wake up, and then fall throughout the sidereal day. This is called a diurnal rhythm. In people that work at night, this model is reversed, so the timing of hydrocortisone free is distinctly linked to daily activity patterns. In addition, in response to stress, extra hydrocortisone is released to help the body to respond appropriately .
The secretion of hydrocortisone is chiefly controlled by three inter-communicating regions of the soundbox ; the hypothalamus in the brain, the pituitary gland and the adrenal gland. This is called the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis. When hydrocortisone levels in the blood are low, a group of cells in a region of the brain called the hypothalamus releases corticotrophin-releasing hormone, which causes the pituitary gland to secrete another hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone, into the bloodstream. eminent levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone are detected in the adrenal glands and stimulate the secretion of hydrocortisone, causing blood levels of hydrocortisone to rise. As the hydrocortisone levels rise, they start to block the release of corticotrophin-releasing hormone from the hypothalamus and adrenocorticotropic hormone from the pituitary. As a result, the adrenocorticotropic hormone levels start to drop, which then leads to a drop in hydrocortisone levels. This is called a negative feedback loop .
What happens if I have too much cortisol?
besides much hydrocortisone over a prolong period of time can lead to a condition called Cushing ‘s syndrome. This can be caused by a across-the-board scope of factors, such as a tumor that produces adrenocorticotropic hormone ( and therefore increases cortisol secretion ), or taking certain types of drugs. The symptoms include :
- rapid weight gain mainly in the face, chest and abdomen contrasted with slender arms and legs
- a flushed and round face
- high blood pressure
- skin changes (bruises and purple stretch marks)
- muscle weakness
- mood swings, which show as anxiety, depression or irritability
- increased thirst and frequency of urination.
high hydrocortisone levels over a prolong prison term can besides cause lack of sexual activity drive and, in women, periods can become irregular, less frequent or stop all in all ( amenorrhea ) .
In addition, there has been a long-standing association between raised or impaired regulation of hydrocortisone levels and a number of psychiatric conditions such as anxiety and depression. however, the significance of this is not even clearly understand.
What happens if I have too little cortisol?
excessively fiddling hydrocortisone may be due to a trouble in the pituitary gland or the adrenal gland ( Addison ‘s disease ). The onset of symptoms is much very gradual. Symptoms may include tire, dizziness ( specially upon standing ), weight loss, muscleman weakness, climate changes and the darken of regions of the hide. Without treatment, this is a potentially dangerous circumstance .
pressing judgment by a specialist hormone doctor called an endocrinologist is required when a diagnosis of Cushing ‘s syndrome or Addison ‘s disease is suspected .
last reviewed : january 2019