The cortisol test is used to measure the amount of cortisol in the blood. This test helps in finding out the functioning of adrenal glands since cortisol is released by adrenal glands. This test detects the hyperfunctioning or hypofunctioning of the adrenal glands. For this test, the blood sample is collected randomly at any time of the day.
Adrenal glands produce a steroid hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is the main hormone which is involved in fight-or-flight and stress response and regular blood glucose. If you experience sudden emotions like a threat, an adrenocorticotropic hormone is released in your brain which stimulates the adrenal gland to produce cortisol and adrenaline. When high levels of cortisol are released, it boosts energy and strength. In most cases, the cortisol levels are observed to be highest in the morning and lowest around midnight.
This test may be recommended to you if you experience certain conditions like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, bruises on the skin, skin that is thin, pink or purple color streaks on the thighs, stomach or hip region, acne, osteoporosis (a condition in which, bones become weak and brittle), muscle weakness, irregular menstrual periods or hair growth on face and chest in women, weight loss, low blood pressure, muscle aches, joint pains, stomach ache, extreme tiredness, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, dark patches on the skin, decreased armpit hair and pubic hair and also decreased sexual desire in case of women, etc,
In case of adrenal crisis, the symptoms like dehydration, weakness, tiredness, vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, shock, loss of consciousness, very low blood pressure, etc are seen. This can be life-threatening.
Long-term use of steroids and birth control pills may lead to abnormal levels of cortisol. Inform your doctor or technician about all your current medications and medical conditions prior to the test. The cortisol levels may be high due to physical stress and trauma, athletes who are highly trained, during the last three months of pregnancy, etc. The abnormal levels of cortisol are observed in individuals working at nights and sleep in the daytime.
Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your Cortisol. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for Cortisol.
You need to relax before taking this test to keep the stress levels low.
The normal reference range may vary depending on gender, age, health history, etc.
If your test results are higher than the normal range, it may indicate pituitary gland is releasing an excess of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), tumor in the adrenal gland, tumor elsewhere in your body which is related with cortisol production, etc. Too much of cortisol levels indicate Cushing syndrome.
If your test results are lower than the normal reference range, it may be due to Addison disease (condition in which there is adrenal insufficiency), hypopituitarism (a condition in which adrenal gland produces less cortisol), etc.
If you get abnormal test results, consult your doctor immediately. Your doctor may recommend other tests depending on your test results.
|OTHER||All age groups||6 - 23 mcg/dl at 8 a.m|