Your adrenal glands are a set of glands that sit on top of your kidneys, and they play a vital role in your overall health. The adrenal glands act like the emergency command and control center of your body—similar to a 911 call operator. When we are faced with a stressful situation, a hormone called cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands and tells the rest of the body what to do in order to survive. When we face a stressor, cortisol shuts down fat burning to help us preserve energy, but it will give us a short burst of energy commonly known as an adrenaline rush.
High cortisol levels can:
Shut down the digestive tract
Stop the immune system from working properly
Affect other parts of the body such as the brain, thyroid gland, connective tissue, and sex glands in both men and women.
In a short-term sense, the release of cortisol is beneficial, and it helps us survive stressful situations. However, when we are under constant stress—and the body is releasing excessive amounts of cortisol—the adrenal glands can burn out or become "exhausted." When your adrenal glands burn out and your cortisol levels drop, you end up: storing body fat around your midsection; your energy levels drop and fatigue sets in; and your mood will become depressed. Eventually, some people experience gastrointestinal issues, and they experience ulcers, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, and excessive gas. Females with high cortisol levels may also experience imbalances in their reproductive hormones which can lead to infertility, PMS, PCOS, and low libido. The list of negative effects cortisol has on the body is extensive.
Many physicians overlook the importance of your adrenal glands and your cortisol levels—and the effect they have on your overall health. At Total Body Health Functional Medicine, Dr. Cirelli is expertly trained to notice the signs of adrenal fatigue and high cortisol levels. By using state-of-the-art testing, Dr. Cirelli is able to monitor your cortisol levels over a 24-hour period and help identify symptoms caused by compromised adrenal function.
If you have been experiencing health issues and are looking for answers, apply for a free 10-minute consult with Dr. Cirelli at Total Body Health Functional Medicine today.