What is the hormone cortisol responsible for?

The human body is under the constant influence of hormones, which perform important functions. The change in level is reflected in health and general condition. And what functions does cortisol do, how to identify deviations from the norms? Find out the reasons for raising and lowering the level and how to solve problems.

What is this hormone, what functions does it perform?

Cortisol or, as it is called otherwise, hydrocortisone is a steroid hormone and is produced by the adrenal cortex. Its synthesis is triggered by the activity of the pituitary gland, and this part of the brain responds to the work of the hypothalamus. Cortisol is often referred to as a stress hormone, since the substance is actively released in response to stressful situations and protects the human body.

What is cortisol responsible for? It performs several functions:

  • Normalization of the absorption of glucose, the formation of energy reserves. The substance increases the concentration of glucose by transporting from peripheral parts of the body, accumulating it and slowing down the processing. Thus, a reserve is created, which is necessary for life support of important body systems.
  • Maintain a stable metabolism. Hydrocortisone is involved in carbohydrate, lipid and protein metabolic processes.
  • Preservation of the normal activity of the nervous system, the launch of protective reactions in response to stress.
  • Ensuring constant vascular tone, their narrowing. This is necessary to prevent a critical reduction in blood pressure under severe stress, shock states, blood loss, severe pain syndrome, and surgical interventions.
  • Control of water-salt balance. This effect prevents dehydration and maintains the normal cell structure, of which water is an integral part. At the same time, cortisol supports diuresis and ensures timely removal of fluid.
  • Normalization of the contractile activity of the heart muscle, stabilization of the heart rhythm, increase in the heart rate (this is necessary to ensure full blood supply to all internal organs under stressful conditions).
  • Relief of inflammatory processes, the provision of hyposensitizing effects, which reduces the sensitivity to allergens.Thus, the substance reduces the risk of inflammation and allergic reactions.

Normal values ​​and effective diagnosis

The amount of cortisol is measured by the level of a substance present in the blood. Values ​​depend on age and can vary during the day. High concentrations are observed in the morning, at night they are minimal. Increase is possible after physical exertion and stress.

The norm for children younger than a year - from 30 to 900 nmol / l, for adolescents - 28-800. During active puberty, the level usually rises. For adults, the normal values ​​are in the range of 100 to 500 nmol / l in the morning hours and from 80 to 450 - in the evening. During pregnancy, the level rises, which is not considered a deviation. But in different sources there are different norms, in addition, they differ in the laboratories, so the decoding in any case should be handled by a qualified specialist.

For the accuracy of the blood test should follow the rules:

  1. Blood sampling is carried out on an empty stomach in the morning between 7 and 11 o'clock.
  2. The day before the analysis, give up alcohol, salty and fatty foods, sweets.
  3. Do not smoke for an hour before the fence.
  4. During the day before the blood test, avoid intense stress and stress.
  5. Any drugs that affect cortisol levels are canceled (check with the doctor or the laboratory for a list of them).

Cortisol is present in the urine, and in the free fractions isolated from blood serum. Daily fluctuations are not observed, and the volume of the separated liquid for 24 hours is used for measurements. Normal values ​​are 55-245 nmol / day.

Exceeding the norm

Excess cortisone in the human body can be observed in such cases:

  • Itsenko-Cushing syndrome;
  • rigid diets, fasting;
  • uncompensated diabetes;
  • hypoglycemia (pathological decrease in glucose level);
  • adrenal gland diseases (adenomas, hyperplasia, carcinomas);
  • long-term use of steroid hormones;
  • thyroid disease (hypothyroidism);
  • strong and frequent stress;
  • prolonged depression;
  • obesity;
  • brain damage, tumor;
  • liver disease (hepatitis, cirrhosis);
  • hormonal disorders, diseases of the reproductive system (for example, polycystic ovaries in women);
  • AIDS.

Suspected cortisol excess can be due to symptoms such as sleep disturbance,unreasonable fluctuations in body weight, headaches, fatigue, frequent colds, changes in appetite and taste preferences, disruptions of the menstrual cycle, difficulties in trying to conceive, mood swings, irritability, high blood pressure.

How to lower the level?

How to reduce the hormone cortisol woman? To do this, follow the recommendations:

  1. Adjust the power. Avoid products containing caffeine and have a stimulating effect on the nervous system. This is coffee, chocolate, energy drinks. You should also limit the consumption of sweets and simple carbohydrates present in white bread, pasta. Food containing amino acids, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins of group B, C is useful. These are green vegetables and greens, red fish, lean meat, fresh berries, cabbage.
  2. Get enough rest, sleep at least seven or eight hours a day.
  3. Avoid strong experiences and stress, intense physical and emotional stress.
  4. Use pharmacy herbal remedies based on licorice root, Rhodiola rosea. Also these plants can be used for cooking broths and infusions.

Reduced cortisol levels

Cortisol deficiency is observed in diseases and pathologies of the pituitary gland, hyperthyroidism (increased thyroid function), Addison's disease, impaired functioning of the liver, taking certain medications, infectious diseases, and lesions of important brain regions.

Symptoms: dizziness, weakness, loss of appetite, weight loss, depression, low blood pressure, muscle atony, drowsiness.

To increase the level of cortisol, it is necessary to identify and eliminate the causes of decline. Required treatment to the doctor and a comprehensive examination. Competent treatment prescribed by a specialist will help solve the problem.

Cortisol is an important hormone, without which the uninterrupted functioning of the human body is impossible. Monitor its level and take timely action in case of violations.

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