Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal glands in response to stress. Cortisol plays a role in the body’s “fight or flight” response, increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels to prepare the body to respond to a perceived threat.
In the short-term, cortisol can have beneficial effects, such as increasing alertness, reducing inflammation, and improving memory. However, when cortisol levels remain elevated over time, it can have negative effects on the body, including:
- Suppressed immune system: Chronic cortisol exposure can suppress the immune system, increasing the risk of infections and chronic illness.
- Increased anxiety and depression: Elevated cortisol levels can contribute to anxiety and depression, and may interfere with the regulation of mood-related neurotransmitters.
- Weight gain: Cortisol can increase appetite and contribute to weight gain, particularly in the abdominal area.
- Cardiovascular problems: Chronic cortisol exposure has been linked to increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
- Decreased bone density: Cortisol can interfere with bone metabolism, leading to decreased bone density and an increased risk of osteoporosis.
Adrenaline is a hormone released by the adrenal glands in response to stress or excitement. Adrenaline prepares the body to respond to a perceived threat by activating the “fight or flight” response, causing a range of physiological changes including:
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure: Adrenaline increases heart rate and blood pressure, increasing blood flow to the muscles and organs.
- Increased respiration: Adrenaline stimulates deeper and more rapid breathing, increasing the delivery of oxygen to the body.
- Dilated pupils: Adrenaline dilates the pupils, improving visual acuity and attention.
- Suppressed digestion: Adrenaline slows down digestion and redirects blood flow from the digestive system to the muscles, preparing the body for physical activity.
- Increased glucose production: Adrenaline increases glucose production from the liver, providing an energy boost for the body.
In the short-term, adrenaline can be beneficial in preparing the body to respond to a threat or perform under pressure. However, when adrenaline levels remain elevated over time, it can have negative effects on the body, including:
- Increased anxiety and irritability: Elevated adrenaline levels can contribute to anxiety and irritability.
- Insomnia: Adrenaline can interfere with sleep, leading to insomnia and decreased restfulness.
- Cardiovascular problems: Chronic adrenaline exposure has been linked to increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
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