Doctor insights on:
What Does It Mean When Your Cortisol Levels Are 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 moreSee 1 more doctor answer
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 ...Read more
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
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
Low Cortisol: Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands. It is called the stress hormone, and is produced in response to either a physical stress or a mental stress, or both. Cortisol has a diurnal pattern, which means it starts highest in the morning and drops gently, and then is very low at night. Low cortisol is using referring to the flattening of the usual curve so that it is lower than it should be. ...Read more
How low are cortisol levels at the very end of the day (bedtime)? I had mine checked and it was at 1.0 after being awake for 16 hours.
How high?: It depends on how high it is above normal? If mildly elevated and if you don't have symptoms of cushing's syndrome: fat at mid section, stretch marks in the abdomen, moon-face, buffalo humps...Then this might be just the way you are. If it's very high and you have symptoms of the above, see your doctor to make sure you don't have a pituitary or adrenal tumor overproducing cortisol. ...Read more
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
Adrenal insufficienc: People with adrenal insufficiency will have low cortisol levels. However, this is a very rare disorder. Just getting a random blood cortisol level is usually not of any value (saliva cortisol levels are worthless for this diagnosis). If you have symptoms of weight loss, loss of appetite, low blood pressure when standing, darkening of the skin, it is worth seeing an endocrinologist about it. ...Read moreSee 1 more doctor answer
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 moreSee 1 more doctor answer
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