Cortisol is a corticosteroid hormone or glucocorticoid produced by the adrenal cortex, that is part of the adrenal gland (in the zona fasciculata and the zona reticularis of the adrenal cortex). It is usually referred to as the "stress hormone" as it is involved in response to stress and anxiety, controlled by CRH. It increases blood pressure and blood sugar, and reduces immune responses. Various synthetic forms of cortisol are used to treat a variety of different illnesses. The most well-known of these are a natural metabolic intermediary of cortisol named hydrocortisone. When first introduced as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, hydrocortisone was referred to as Compound E.
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