CORTISOL

The tests are carried out in collaboration with the diagnostic laboratory MEDICARE Plus.

The test detects the cortisol hormone in your saliva.

1. General information about cortisol

Cortisol is also know as the stress hormone, since cortisol levels become elevated when we are experiencing stress (physical or mental). Cortisol in your bloodstream raises your blood pressure and sugar levels in your blood. It is a glucocorticoid hormone, generated by the adrenal gland as part of the daily hormonal cycle. It is crucial in the process of the body's reaction to stress, both physically and mentally.


2. When should you have your cortisol tested?

Cortisol tests are recommended in case of suspicion of burnout syndrome, Cushing syndrome or Addison's disease. In the long run, elevated cortisol levels present an increased risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure. By testing cortisol levels we can also asses the functioning of the adrenal glands.

 

3. How is the test carried out?

Cortisol levels in the body are the same as cortisol levels in your saliva. The saliva sample should be taken at 8 a.m. before eating, since that is when cortisol levels should be highest. Sampling from 3 to 5 times a day gives us a daily profile which shows how cortisol behaves during the day. It should be highest in the morning, when we need a boost to face the day's challenges, after which the levels should consistently drop. Patients that show signs of burnout behave the opposite way, with the levels rising during the day and peaking during the evening.


4. Symptoms that point to increased cortisol levels:

- high blood pressure
- high levels of blood sugar
- excessive weight
- fragile skin
- purple blemishes in the stomach area
- weakened, feeble muscles
- burnout syndrome
- osteoporosis

5. Symptoms that point to low cortisol levels:

- weight loss
- weakened muscles
- fatigue
- low blood pressure
- stomach pain
- exhausted adrenal glands
- dark blemishes on the skin (Addison's disease)

6. Cortisol test guidelines:

In the case of hormonal cream use, it is recommended that at least 36 hours pass between your last use and the sampling. Sampling may take place during any day of the week. The suggested sampling times are 8 a.m., 12 p.m., 4 p.m., 10 p.m. and 12 a.m. The test requires several samples, so you might have to use between one and five ampoules.
DHEA analysis does not require any additional ampoules. The analysis will be conducted on a mixture of the cortisol analysis samples.