Health & Fitness

8 Symptoms of High Cortisol Levels

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8 Symptoms of High Cortisol Levels

How do you know if you have high cortisol levels?

We’ve all heard of cortisol. You know, the hormone that gets blamed for belly fat.

Cortisol is your body’s main stress hormone and is actually really useful…when it’s being used for its intended purpose.

However, it becomes a problem when there’s too much or too little.

Since most people think of too high levels when it comes to cortisol, I’m going to talk about 8 symptoms you might experience if your cortisol levels get a little (or a lot) elevated.


1 Feeling Tired and Wired

This is characterized by a feeling of exhaustion coupled with the buzz that comes from being wired. Think super tired mixed with “I just drank a pot of coffee or two energy drinks” wired.


2 Trouble Falling or Staying Asleep

This one compliments the first one we discussed. If you have a chronic issue falling or staying asleep, it could be a sign that your cortisol levels are elevated.


3 Belly Fat

This is the one most people think of when they hear the word”cortisol.” Yes, belly fat is associated with higher levels of cortisol. BUT high cortisol isn’t the only reason you may be carrying around extra weight in your midsection.


4 Sugar Cravings

This one goes without saying. Chronic stress leads to sugar cravings and changes in your cortisol levels. You get a pretty sweet hit (all the puns intended) of dopamine when you consume sugar, so it’s no wonder your cravings may be elevated right along with your cortisol levels.


5 Difficulty Concentrating

When your cortisol levels are elevated your body isn’t able to stay in the rest and digest state, so you may find your concentration suffering.


6 Anxiety/Nervousness

Remember that buzz we were talking about earlier? High cortisol can lead to increased anxiety.


7 High Blood Pressure

This is only natural that your blood pressure (and your heart rate) would increase right along with your cortisol. Cortisol is pumped out during stressful situations.


8 High Blood Sugar

Cortisol helps provide the body with glucose. This is what gives you the energy to “fight or flight.” As long as your body is pumping out the cortisol, glucose is going to get pushed out right along with it.



Cortisol isn’t a “bad” hormone. But it can do some not-so-great things to your body if you produce too much or too little. If you’re wanting to dive a little deeper, check out this article by The Cleveland Clinic.

And I think this goes without saying, but I’m not a doctor (nor do I want to be). This is in NO WAY medical advice. If you suspect you may have a cortisol imbalance, please schedule an appointment with your doctor.


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I’m Jessica! Just another health coach promising that I’m the one you need to find yourself to health… except, not really. I can’t promise anything but I will tell you one thing — you made it here for a reason and you owe it to yourself to determine whether or not a coaching experience is what you need to get back to a feel-good place for you. This site is your place to decide. I, of course, hope to hear from you and would LOVE to get the chance to potentially work with you!

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