We can all agree that some stress is inevitable in modern life. While occasional stress is okay, too much of it for too long can have a negative impact on our body and mind.
At the center of our body’s stress response is a steroid hormone called cortisol. These endocrinologists in Northwest Indiana explain what cortisol is, why its balance matters and how to manage it effectively.
What Is Cortisol?
Cortisol often is called the stress hormone. Our body produces more cortisol when we are stressed or our blood sugar drops. It helps by regulating metabolism, reducing inflammation, controlling the sleep-wake cycle and boosting energy so that you can handle stress and restore balance afterward.
Why Cortisol Levels Matter
Having the right amount of cortisol is good for our health. But a cortisol imbalance – too much or too little – can cause problems.
High cortisol for a long time may cause weight gain, sleep disturbances, high blood pressure, mood swings, depression, reduced energy levels, compromised immune function, memory and concentration problems and more. On the other hand, low cortisol may lead to a rare but serious condition known as Addison’s disease.
Simple Ways to Manage Cortisol
Meditate: Meditation helps calm the mind and has been proven to reduce cortisol production. Your endocrinologist in Northwest Indiana may recommend incorporating mindfulness practices for a few minutes each day to help keep stress away.
Move Your Body: Activities like walking, yoga or gym exercises help boost endorphin production. This chemical can lower stress and make you feel better overall.
Eat Well: Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, flax seeds and walnuts, can help reduce cortisol levels. Make sure you eat a balanced diet with ample vitamins and minerals.
Cut down on coffee: Too much caffeine can raise cortisol production. It’s best to limit caffeine consumption, especially in the late afternoon and evening.
Proper Sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night and maintain a consistent sleep schedule. A good night’s rest helps balance cortisol.
Manage Work Stress: If work stresses you out, take regular breaks, manage your time or talk to someone to reduce its impact on your cortisol levels.
Stay Social: Being lonely can raise your cortisol levels. So, spend time with loved ones, engage in social activities or consider joining a community group.
Why Seeing an Endocrinologist Might Be a Good Idea
Endocrinologists specialize in diagnosing and treating hormone-related disorders, including those associated with cortisol. If you have tried self-help measures to manage your stress and still feel something is not right, it might be time to see an expert.
A reputable endocrinologist in Northwest Indiana can check your cortisol levels through a series of diagnostic tests. If there is an imbalance, they can identify its underlying cause(s). It could be an endocrine disorder, pituitary tumor or another medical condition.
Once the cause has been identified, they might suggest treatments like medicines, changes in your lifestyle or other therapies tailored to your situation. They also can offer advice on supplements and dietary changes to help balance your cortisol levels. Lastly, they will monitor your cortisol levels and adjust treatments as needed, ensuring they remain within a healthy range.
Looking for an Affordable Endocrinologist in Munster, Indiana?
Long-term stress and off-balance cortisol can affect every aspect of our lives – from sleep to mood and overall health. But with the right lifestyle changes and professional help, you can regulate your body’s cortisol production and live a healthier, happier life.
Are you worried about your hormone health? Ready to meet with an affordable endocrinologist in Northwest Indiana who can help you find the right balance? If so, our specialists at 219 Health Network are just a call away. Contact us today at 833-219-0001 to learn how we can help.