Cortisol is a stress hormone from the pituitary gland which rises as you get stressed out. The stress could be emotional, it could result from a stressful environment, it could be imaginary, or it could result from the physical condition such as injury. Hyperthyroidism, cancers, adrenal tumors, and pituitary dysfunction as a result of tumors or adenomas are also causes of the condition. There are medications such as anti-inflammatory steroids and oral contraceptives that can raise the levels of cortisol. Testing is done by testing the saliva to determine cortisol levels. Testing also involves determining the exact reasons for the high cortisol levels.
It is important that you know high cortisol symptoms so that you can seek medical intervention on the onset of the disease. If the disease is caught early, you will be treated and your chances of success increases. From the definition of the condition, the most obvious symptom of high cortisol is high stress levels. Other noteworthy symptoms of high cortisol are hyperglycemia and hypertension. Note that these are also symptoms for other medical conditions, but when these conditions occur together, there is reason to seek medical intervention. In women, high cortisol is also associated with menstrual irregularities and the menstrual cycle could stop altogether with some women. The condition is also associated with infertility, facial hair, body hair. The condition also causes obesity, more specially fat around the abdominal area and the trunk. The condition also causes slender or skinny limbs, giving a very peculiar body type. There is also accumulation of fat around the upper back and the neck. This accumulation of fat leads to conditions such as high LDL cholesterol levels, strokes, and heart attacks. Other common symptoms of the condition are chronic exhaustion and fatigue. These symptoms vary in severity and in their duration.
Addison’s disease is a condition associated with high cortisol. This disease also goes by the name chronic adrenal insufficiency, hypocorticism or hypocortisolism. It is a rare and chronic endocrine disorder resulting from the insufficient production of glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids which are steroid hormones. The signs and symptoms of this condition take time to develop. They include inexplicable fatigue, lightheadedness when standing, weakness of the muscles, weight loss, anxiety, fever, nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, sweating, mood and personality changes, and pain in the joint and the muscles. Testing for the disease is done through ACTH stimulation test. Famous sufferers of the disease include President John F. Kennedy and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, his sister, Helen Reddy, Dr. Carl Abbott, and Ferdinand Louis Schlemmer.