Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands as a biological response to stress, which is why many refer to it as the "stress hormone." In addition to helping the body cope with stress, cortisol also assists with glucose metabolism, helping the body convert sugars into energy.
Stress isn't always a bad thing. In small doses, stress gives men the "get-up-and-go" they need to conquer challenges, overcome obstacles and achieve goals. However, in cases of chronic stress, men face a number of health challenges linked to cortisol imbalance. The worst part is men are less inclined to admit when they're overworked or overburdened by responsibility. Most men tend to ignore their vulnerabilities and let their health fall at the wayside in doing so.
Some common medical conditions associated with high cortisol levels in men include:
- High blood pressure
- Weakened immune response
Although cortisol has been linked to a number of medical conditions, the most common is a condition known as adrenal fatigue . Adrenal fatigue is a medical condition where the adrenal glands become overworked and don't produce enough cortisol to keep up with the body's demand.
Symptoms of cortisol imbalance in men are similar to those typified by other hormonal imbalances such as andropause (the male menopause) and often include the following:
- Weight gain
- Bone and muscle loss
- Foggy thinking
Cortisol imbalance, like any hormonal imbalance can lead to serious health complications and can often accelerate symptoms of premature aging. Stress-reduction techniques such as breathing exercise and meditation are a productive way to naturally relieve stress. 5 slow, deep breaths is all it takes to lower cortisol levels back to normal! Balanced nutrition and regular exercise are also very important.