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Cortisol linked to weight-loss trouble

Category: Hormones and Metabolism

For individuals who are struggling to lose weight through diet and exercise but are seeing little result, a cortisol test may determine if they have a hormone imbalance that is to blame.

Cortisol is a hormone created in the adrenal gland when an individual goes through a stressful experience. It signals the body that it needs extra energy, especially the kind that comes from simple sugars.

For this reason, people who are often stressed eat more junk food and have a more difficult time losing weight. The hormone can trick the body into thinking it actually needs junk food.

"It's worse with women, especially in their 30s to upper 40s," Dr. Gloria Hakkareinen, medical director of Palm Beach Weight & Wellness told the Palm Beach Post. "They're high-functioning, usually juggling a number of things - work, family, marriage, a house - and suddenly, they can no longer manage as much."

Cortisol tests may be important for other reasons, as the National Institutes for Health say that increased levels of the hormone can lead to metabolic, immune and circulatory system problems.

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