Cortisol is one of the steroid hormones often called ‘stress hormone’ because of its connection to the stress response. It is made in adrenal glands but most cells in the body have cortisol receptors. Its secretion is controlled by the hypotalamus, the pituitary gland and the adrenal gland the combination of which are called the Hypotalamic-Pituitary Axis (HPA). Cortisol has many functions in the body. It helps bloood sugar level control, regulates metabolism, reduces inflammation and assist in memory functions. It has also effects on water, salt balance, controlling blood pressure. Another effect of cortisol is in pregnant women in supportig the growth of fetus.
Interpretation:Increases in pituitary or adrenal gland tumors (Cushing Syndrome), changes in libido and menstrual cycle problems, anxiety and depression and cortisol therapies to reduce inflamation in certain immune diseases. Low cortisol levels may be diagnosed as primary adrenal insufficiency or Adisson’s disease. Patients will experience fatique, muscle loss, weight loss and skin pathologies. Cortisol has a diurnal rythym because cortisol receptors which are in most cells of the body receive and use it in different ways. If the body is on alert, cortisol may influence the starting and stopping the involved functions. These might include digestive, reproductive, immune system and growth processes. Anxiety and depression, headaches, heart disease, memory concentration problems, digestion problems, sleeping problems and weight gain may alter cortisol levels. Therefore , Cortisol levels are variable according to daily metabolic and physiologic functions thus the blood sample should be taken according to the clinic presentation the doctor observes.
Sample: Arm vein blood or saliva.Fasting or nonfasting depending on the time of sampling.Samles may be taken as the doctor’s ordered time (Early morning, Evening or periods of 20,30,40,60,90,240 minutes)
Working day: Tuesday,Friday
Result Time: Next day 6:00 PM