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Doctor insights on: Cortisol Level

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Dr. Tony Willson
414 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
414 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

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My cortisol level is 26, what is the normal range?

My cortisol level is 26, what is the normal range?

What type of test?: Was it blood or saliva or what kind of test? The time of day can make a difference with this hormone and its level. ...Read more

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What does having cortisol level of 13.2 ug/dL mean?

What does having cortisol level of 13.2 ug/dL mean?

By itself nothing: Cortisol levels are drawn to rule Cushing's / Addison's in or out. Random salivary / urinary / 24 hour urinary / blood levels must be interpreted in light of your clinical picture. Addison's is typically diagnosed when cortisol won't rise appropriately in response to ACTH stimulation; Cushing's etc. when it won't suppress with dexamethasone. I hope this helps. ...Read more

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My cortisol level was 15.3 ug/dl. What does this mean?

Depends: When it was done. Cortisol levels are higher in the am (15.3 would be normal) then in the pm (this level would be too high for the pm) ask your doctor why he/she drew it in the first place. ...Read more

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What is the definition or description of: cortisol level?

What is the definition or description of: cortisol level?

The body secretes : 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. ...Read more

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What to do if I have high cortisol level for a young woman?

See endocrinologist: Hi. Hi cortisol may be Cushing's syndrome (notice I said MAY, not is). The appropriate tests must be done, which include 24-hour urine cortisol, midnight salivary cortisol (several values), maybe a dexamethasone suppression test. If Cushing's, can be pituitary disease, adrenal disease or paraneoplastic (associated with a cancer-rare overall). Get properly evaluated. Good luck! ...Read more

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What can I do to alter the time of peaking of my cortisol level?

What can I do to alter the time of peaking of my cortisol level?

Cortisol peak time: Cortisol levels are on a circadian rhythm related to sleep - wake cycle. Change that cycle and within 5-7 days it will alter you peak cortisol time. Not very appealing! ...Read more

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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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How long does it take for my cortisol level to get back to normal?

Depends: On why it was suppressed. If you were given steroids it will depend on how long and what dose you were given. See an endocrinologist. ...Read more

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My cortisol level was 739nmol/L is this normal or should I be concerned?

Depends on the time: would be helpful to know what the laboratories reference range is, as cortisol levels vary over the course of the day. When was the sample obtained? ...Read more

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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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How can I tell when my cortisol level is peaking during the day? What are the signs?

Cortisol: You can't. Cortisol is usually higher in the morning than in the afternoon. If your cortisol levels are normal you can relax. Any ongoing concerns - see your doctor. ...Read more

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What kinds of tests do you take to determine your cortisol level to decide if you have excess cortisol?

What kinds of tests do you take to determine your cortisol level to decide if you have excess cortisol?

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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How can I normalize my blood cortisol level?

Usually serious: You need to see a physician especially an endocrinologist to find out the cause. With the possible exception of low cortisol levels due to exogenous cortisone intake other causes of abnormal levels require specialist intervention. Don't play doctor! ...Read more

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What does it mean when your cortisol level in your blood is low?

What does it mean when your cortisol level in your blood is low?

Addison's disease: A very low cortisol could be addison’s disease, but this is relatively rare, and “low cortisol” is way over-diagnosed; the term “adrenal fatigue” is sometimes used, which is a fake diagnosis. If someone says you have this, see an endocrinologist for confirmation. ...Read more

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What should I do if my cortisol level is high on the 24 hour test?

Confirmatory test: The 24 urine test is a screening test, so it should pick up most people who truly have excess cortisol, but will also be falsely high in some normal people. To confirm excess cortisol production, a 2 day suppression test is done by having you take a pill called Dexamethasone for 2 days then having you get labs done. ...Read more