Mainstream medicine today has become more and more specialized (I’ve heard it said that the more specialized we become, the less we know about more and more…). Unfortunately, no one discussed this arbitrary division of human physiology with the human body. Every single system in the body is interconnected in hundreds of ways with every other organ system. Ask your cardiologist what advice he or she can give you about protecting your adrenals or ask your endocrinologist how to protect your heart and they will happily refer you out to someone else.
This article is a perfect example of how the systems interact. A normal cortisol response from the adrenal gland produces higher levels of cortisol in the morning and it gradually tapers off at night so you can sleep. High stress levels and poor nutrition will alter this pattern. Let this go on long enough and you may burn out the adrenal glands (they can only do so much to keep up with poor choices), flattening out this cortisol response.
As a side note, this study used saliva samples to determine cortisol levels, which is the only reasonable method to check most hormones. Mainstream medicine will typically run a single blood test for cortisol, which gives no indication as to the pattern of cortisol production.
In patients who had this flattening out response they had an 87% increased risk of dying of cardiovascular causes. Given how bad stress is for us, this should come as no surprise, and the actual mechanism is likely multifactorial. The bottom line is that there is no question that stress affects our body’s function and this will ultimately lead to death. Harsh, but true. And, given today’s healthcare system, you can trust that it will be a long and painful deterioration of health before the end.