As new medical technology and testing is put into action, there are more ways to diagnose life threatening diseases – this includes Cortisol testing for Cushing’s Syndrome and Addison Disease.
Cortisol is a hormone in the body that helps control blood sugar, blood pressure, metabolism, and get the body ready for stress and infections. It’s produced in the adrenal glands, which sit atop your kidneys and affects almost every cell in the body due to cortisol receptors being in nearly all bodily cells. This means that cortisol is a very important factor in a healthy life and maintaining its levels is vital.
Symptoms and Causes of High Cortisol Levels
When cortisol levels get too high, this can cause many different problems including Cushing’s Syndrome, a disorder which occurs over a long period of time and often affect adults between 30 and 50 years old.
There are a number of reasons why your cortisol levels may be skyrocketing, such as: chronic high stress, long-term use of corticosteroids, uncontrolled diabetes, high sugar/low fiber diet, excessive caffeine, excessive alcohol intake, among others. If you are worried that these factors may have impacted your levels, below are common symptoms to look out for:
- Unexplained weight gain
- Changes in skin’s appearance (acne, thinning skin, etc.)
- Frequently ill
- Problems with focus/concentration
- Elevated blood pressure
- Decreased libido and fertility
Symptoms of Low Cortisol Levels
On the other side of the spectrum, when cortisol levels are too low, you are susceptive to many internal issues including Addison’s Syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by inadequate production of both cortisol and aldosterone by the two outer layers of cells of the adrenal glands.
Low cortisol levels can be caused by tumors of the adrenal glands, inflammation of the adrenal glands, and certain medications. While there are less causes to lower levels, it’s still very important to pay attention to what your body is telling you as well:
- Muscle weakness
- Extreme craving of salty foods
- Heart palpitations
- Problems with stress coping
- Abdominal pain
- Vomiting Severe lower back pain
Testing Your Cortisol Levels
Cortisol testing is very important if people feel that they might have abnormal levels of the hormone. There are three different ways to test cortisol levels: blood, saliva and urine. Cortisol levels are known to fluctuate throughout the day, but the time of day when it is the highest and lowest are in the mornings and late evenings, respectively. Because of the fluctuation, testing involves retrieving samples at different times of the day for accuracy. nüber-T offers take home saliva tests that are easy to administer and are 90-95% accurate.
If you think you might have abnormal cortisol levels, ask about take home saliva testing. Results usually come back in a few days and if abnormal, corrective steps can be made to improve this and your overall health/wellness.
In good health,