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Doctor insights on: Cortisol Level

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Dr. Tony Willson
406 doctors shared insights

Cortisol Level (Overview)

Cortisol is what the body produces. It is often obtained to check if your body's adrenal gland (which produces the cortisol) is functioning well especially after one has been taking cortisone (prednisone) for a long time. Sometimes it is used to screen out over-production of cortisone by the body as in cushing's disease.


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What's the "normal" cortisol level?

What's the "normal" cortisol level?

Varies thru the day: "normal values for a blood sample taken at 8 in the morning are 6 - 23 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dl). The examples above are common measurements for results for these tests. Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories." http://www.Nlm.Nih.Gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003693.Htm. ...Read more

Dr. Tony Willson
406 doctors shared insights

Cortisol Level (Overview)

Cortisol is what the body produces. It is often obtained to check if your body's adrenal gland (which produces the cortisol) is functioning well especially after one has been taking cortisone (prednisone) for a long time. Sometimes it is used to screen out over-production of cortisone by the body as in cushing's disease.


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Dx with adrenal insufficiency, before acth test could be done, sent to ER was given IV steroids. Doc does blood work often looking at cortisol levels, but should she still do the acth test?

Dx with adrenal insufficiency, before acth test could be done, sent to ER was given IV steroids.  Doc does blood work often looking at cortisol levels, but should she still do the acth test?

ACTH test: In addition to doing the acth test and seeing an endocrinologist, it would be important to know why you developed addisons. Autoimmune adrenal? Adrenal hemmorhage? Pituitary? ...Read more

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Morning (5 am) cortisol level is 1. (normal range 6- 22.6 ). Is it dangerous for it to be that low? Been having increasing ambiguous symptoms.

Morning (5 am) cortisol level is 1. (normal range 6- 22.6 ). Is it dangerous for it to be that low? Been having increasing ambiguous symptoms.

Low cortisol: If you are not suppressing cortisol production by taking some form of steroid hormone, this level is very low, and raises suspicion for addison's disease. There are many symptoms associated, including weakness, fatigue, low blood pressure, etc. One morning cortisol is not diagnostic; you need an acth test, which is not complicated. See your doctor right away. This is easily treated. ...Read more

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I have a cortisol level of 0.8. Can that cause weight gain, extreme fatigue, joint pain. Low bp, heart palpitations? What should I do?

I have a cortisol level of 0.8. Can that cause weight gain, extreme fatigue, joint pain. Low bp, heart palpitations? What should I do?

Complicated: Normal 8 am cortisol is 8-23 micrograms per deciliter. Since you don't use units, it's not clear if you're normal or not. Moreover, even if it's low as I think you're hinting, your Symbicort (budesonide and formoterol) may have suppressed it. A cortrosyn stimulation test is needed. Finally, low cortisol could cause fatigue and low BP, but not the other symptoms. Clearly, you need to stay under your doctor's care! ...Read more

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What does it mean when your cortisol level is very abnormally low?

What does it mean when your cortisol level is very abnormally low?

Collection time ?: Well it depends on the time of when your cortisol level was checked. Maximal level of cortisol is usually between 5:00a-8:00am with the lowest (nadir) levels being after 5pm (almost zero level by bedtime). If your having symptoms such as malaise, increased napping, headaches, stomach ache or low bs, you may have adrenal insufficiency and will need referral to an endocrinologist for further testing. ...Read more

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Just wondering what it means to have low cortisol levels. ?

Just wondering what it means to have low cortisol levels.
?

Cortisol tests: In normal people cortisol goes up and down throughout the day, although it is higher in am than in pm. Therefore, it is hard to define what is "low". An afternoon cortisol of 5 may be perfectly normal. Adrenal failure is called addison's disease and is dangerous, but a random cortisol usually cannot be used to diagnose addision's. An acth stim test may be needed if this diagnosis is considered. ...Read more

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What do they do if you have a high cortisol level? What other tests are done?

What do they do if you have a high cortisol level?  What other tests are done?

Suppression or urine: The 2 screening tests that can be performed are an overnight Dexamethasone suppression test (odst) or a 24 hour urine collection for cortisol. For the odst, you take Dexamethasone (a steroid) the night before you get blood drawn for a morning cortisol. The normal response to taking dex is a decrease in cortisol production. If one of these tests is abnormal, a 2 day dex test is done to confirm. ...Read more

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What's the "normal" cortisol level?

Varies thru the day: "normal values for a blood sample taken at 8 in the morning are 6 - 23 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dl). The examples above are common measurements for results for these tests. Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories." http://www.Nlm.Nih.Gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003693.Htm. ...Read more

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Is a high cortisol level cause for concern?

Is a high cortisol level cause for concern?

Yes.: Excessive cortisol, if chronic, can cause diabetes, osteoporosis and other problems. ...Read more