hormone secreted in the adrenal gland. It helps the body
stress. During stress, the body's "fight-or-flight"
response makes sure that plenty of energy is available to
systems like the heart and muscles by temporarily decreasing
energy to other ongoing functions in the digestive system, the
immune system, the reproductive system, and so on. In the
short term, this is natural and desirable. However, prolonged
stress can lead to overproduction of cortisol which can cause
long-term suppression of the immune system, making the body more
vulnerable to infection.
by Catherine E. Myers. Copyright © 2006 Memory Loss and the Brain