Cortisol, Serum (Random)

Also Known as Cortisol

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  • Cortisol, Serum (Random)

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Age group

7 years & above

The hormone cortisol has a significant impact on physical and emotional states, like mood, motivation, and fear. It originates in the zona fasciculata of the adrenal or suprarenal glands. The endocrine glands on top of your kidneys also produce cortisol.

The steroid hormone is responsible for regulating the stress response of the human body. Hence it is also called the stress hormone. The hormone also has several significant functions, like:

  • Controlling the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats 
  • Blood pressure regulation 
  • Blood sugar control 
  • Sleep-wake cycle control 
  • Inflammation suppression

For your body to function normally, it needs to maintain homeostasis of the hormone levels. Too much or too little of the hormone can adversely affect your health. In case of excess cortisol in the body, various diseases can occur. Two instances would be:

Cushing syndrome or hypercortisolism: This disease occurs due to excess cortisol levels in the body. 
Addison's Disease or hypocortisolism: This disease causes failure of adrenal glands, due to low levels of cortisol aldosterone. If left untreated, it can cause Addisonian Crisis which is fatal.

The Cushing syndrome has some of the following symptoms:

  • Excessive fatigue
  • Weak muscles 
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Poor cognitive abilities 
  • Headache 
  • High blood pressure or hypertension
  • Susceptibility to infections 
  • Loss of emotional control 
  • Altered sex drive 
  • Obesity

Addison's disease has some similarities as well as a few other symptoms, like:

  • Severe fatigue 
  • Depression
  • Excessive body hair loss in women 
  • Hyperpigmentation 
  • Appetite loss 
  • Loss of weight
  • Craving for salt 
  • Low blood pressure or hypotension 
  • Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar 
  • Pain in the abdomen, muscles, and joints
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea 
  • Sexual dysfunction in women 
  • Irregular menstrual cycle

The Random Cortisol Serum Test or Cortisol blood test is a way to detect the cortisol level in your blood. It is also known as a Cortrosyn Stimulation Test or dexamethasone suppression test.

It can also detect any disorders of the adrenal gland and can be prescribed by the medical practitioner if any of the above symptoms persist.

The serum cortisol test is similar to a regular blood sample test. A lab technician or healthcare professional collects a sample of your blood via venipuncture. The procedure has no significant side effects, but you may feel slight pain and light-headedness. In rare cases, blood can clot beneath your skin and form a hematoma, but it is not fatal. You can get this test done by an Apollo 24|7.

However, you should prepare well before the sample collection. Cortisol levels in the body vary throughout the day and are at the highest level in the morning. So, even though you need to fast, you must provide the sample in the morning.

You also need to abstain from using anti-seizure drugs, drugs consisting of estrogen, and synthetic glucocorticoid medications, like prednisone. These can raise the cortisol level in the body. Similarly, refrain from using androgens or phenytoin since these can lower the cortisol level. You must also stay relaxed before the Cortisol Level test since stress and illness can also impact the hormone level.

Although Cushing's syndrome is curable, there is no permanent cure for Addison's disease. However, depending on your diagnosed condition, your doctor can prescribe you medicines, diets, and changes in lifestyle that will help in both cases.

faqFrequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Hypothyroidism significantly impacts a dexamethasone suppression test or serum cortisol test. Other than that, injuries, infections, and certain medications can alter the results. The list includes birth control pills, hydrocortisone, prednisone, etc. Obesity and pregnancy also influence the test. You must not perform strenuous activities, like exercise, before taking the test either as it can raise the cortisol level in your body.
Hydrocortisone, prednisolone, and dexamethasone are some commonly used medicines for Addison’s disease. Among these, hydrocortisone is used for fulfilling the deficit of cortisol in the body, while fludrocortisone can replace aldosterone. However, you should never self-medicate and only consume medicines prescribed by a licensed healthcare professional.
Some medicines that can control the high-level production of cortisol in the body are mitotane (Lysodren), ketoconazole, and metyrapone (Metopirone). People who suffer from type-II diabetes, or are glucose intolerant, are prescribed mifepristone for treating Cushing syndrome. But only your doctor can prescribe the right one after complete consultation and diagnosis.
Moon facies is when you have extra fat build-up on the sides of your face. It happens when you suffer from unexplained weight gain due to Cushing's syndrome. It is also known as Cushingoid appearance or moon face and occurs due to the high level of cortisol in the body.
Although Addison’s disease is incurable, patients still can retain their quality of life with certain restrictions. You must go for regular check-ups, take proper medications, and manage your stress and fatigue levels consciously. You may also get checked up for additional health problems like an underactive thyroid or diabetes.
Addisonian crisis is a fatal condition that significantly lowers your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. The potassium level also increases in your blood which can affect your heart and cause abdominal and heart pains. It happens when you are left untreated after suffering from Addison’s disease. Physical stress, injuries, illness, or infections can make the matter worse.

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The information mentioned above is meant for educational purposes only and should not be taken as a substitute to your Physician’s advice. It is highly recommended that the customer consults with a qualified healthcare professional to interpret test results