cortisol test

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what is cortisol?

Cortisol hormone popularly referred to as stress hormone, is a steroid hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands located on top of each kidney. Cortisol is mainly released in response to stress and low blood glucose concentration. Cortisol hormone belongs to the glucocorticoid class of hormones. The amount of cortisol in the body depends on a person’s eating habits and the amount of his physical activities. Generally, cortisol levels are at their highest level in the morning which drops down to the lowest level by evening.

functions of cortisol

Cortisol is a steroid based hormone and is a strong chemical that modifies the gene activity in the DNA. It prompts the cells to produce glucose from proteins and fatty acids, a process known as gluconeogenesis. This saves the glucose for the brain, forcing the body to use fatty acids from the stored fat as energy. Some of its main functions includes the following;

  • Cortisol hormone manages how the body utilises carbohydrates, protein and fats in the body. 
  • It also helps in keeping inflammation down
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Increases blood sugar or glucose
  • Controls the sleep – wake cycle
  • Cortisol gives energy boost to deal with stress and restores balance later.

how do cortisol works?

The hypothalamus and pituitary gland located in the blood sense the volume of cortisol levels in the blood; if the cortisol level is too low then it adjusts the amount of hormones made. The adrenal glands pick up on the signals and then balances the amount of cortisol in the blood.

The daily requirement for cortisol in the blood varies for instance, when the body is on high alert, the cortisol hormone will alter or shut down the function that comes in its way including digestive system, immune system and the growth process. 

Too little of cortisol levels or cortisol deficiency can lead to a health condition called Addison’s disease. The main symptoms of Addison’s disease are as follows;

  • Persistent tiredness
  • Changes in skin and darkening of the scars and skin folds
  • Muscle weakness
  • Diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting
  • Low blood pressure 
  • Loss of appetite and weight

Too much of cortisol can lead to Cushing’s syndrome; the main symptoms are as follows;

  • Rapid weight gain
  • Easy bruising of the skin
  • Muscle weakness
  • Diabetes

causes of cortisol deficiency

The main cause of cortisol deficiency is the adrenal gland’s failure to produce appropriate levels of cortisol or adrenal insufficiency; this may be caused due to adrenal glands disorder or the inadequate secretion of the ACTH by the pituitary gland. Few of the health conditions responsible for the low levels of cortisol are TB, autoimmune disorders, fungal infections, surgical removal of the adrenal glands, etc.

Causes of high cortisol levels

High cortisol levels is primarily the overproduction of the stress hormone; high cortisol levels could be due to varied reasons like adrenal gland disorders, constant stress, pituitary gland tumours, pregnancy, liver or kidney disease, hyperthyroidism , etc. The main High cortisol levels symptoms are; breast growth in men, impotence, acne and abnormal menstrual periods in women.

what is a cortisol test?

Cortisol test also known as serum cortisol test is a simple blood test that is used to ascertain the amount of cortisol in the blood. The cortisol blood test is also used to diagnose Addison’s disease or Cushing Syndrome, it is also used to assess the functioning of the adrenal glands and the pituitary gland in the brain.

why take cortisol test?

Cortisol blood test is mainly given to a person to measure their cortisol levels, if they are showing the following symptoms;

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Headaches
  • Heart disease
  • Memory problems and difficulty concentrating
  • Digestion problems
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Weight gain or unintended weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Low blood pressure

cortisol normal range

Cortisol normal range varies from morning to day and night. For instance the cortisol normal range early morning is between 10 to 20 micrograms per decilitre (ug/dl), this falls down to between 3 to 10 ug/dl and at night the cortisol normal range is below 5 ug/dl.

how to reduce cortisol?

High cortisol level treatment involves medications to reduce the cortisol production or block the effect of cortisol on tissues. Besides medications one can also adopt some natural remedies to reduce cortisol like;

  • Including whole food and anti- inflammatory diet
  • Reduce and manage stress
  • Meditate
  • Acupuncture
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Regular exercising
  • Get enough sleep

how can we help?

At home cortisol test is now a possibility with the help of our highly trustable and reliable services. We offer our clients the facility to sit back and relax while our representative phlebotomists visits them and collects the blood sample for the cortisol blood test; not only that we would also make your test report available online, so you don’t have to run to collect the reports. So, if you need at home cortisol test just give us a call and experience superior quality healthcare at home.