The level of cortisol may be measured by a blood test and the results may indicate whether there is some adrenal glands disorder, as well as if there are some problems with the pituitary gland. The adrenal glands are responsible for the production of cortisol. However, when the pituitary gland manufactures adrenocorticotropic hormone – ACTH, the levels of cortisone tend to rise. Furthermore, cortisol levels may be changed by many other reasons, such as strenuous activity, infection and injury as well as physical or emotional stress.
The body successfully uses glucose and fat for energy due to cortisone. Furthermore, it is very good for relieving the stress that the body undergoes. The levels of cortisol change during a day. In the morning, the levels tend to rise gradually and are at the high point approximately at 7 a.m. but after that, the levels tend to drop and are the lowest while one sleeps. This pattern is valid for those who do not sleep during the day and are active during the night. In that case, it is vice versa. When one does not have these daily changes in the level of cortisone, then he/she suffers from Cushion’s syndrome or overactive adrenal glands. The blood tests are typically used twice in a day; in the morning and in the afternoon.
Preparation for the blood test for cortisol levels
It is very important to avoid strenuous activities the day before the test. Furthermore, certain medicines, such as steroids, should not be used before the test since it can affect the levels of the cortisol. The blood is taken from the vein of upper arm and not from a finger. One should not be afraid at all, because it can be painless, or one can feel only a slight sting. In the majority of cases, taking blood does not cause any further problems. One may have a slight bruise, or the vein may slightly swell, but it is not serious at all.
Those people who suffer from bleeding disorders may have ongoing bleeding after taking the blood. Furthermore, there are certain medicines that are called blood thinners, such as warfarin, that should not be used when a blood test needs to be done. However, the doctor should be informed about these conditions.
Results of blood tests for cortisol levels
If the test shows high values of cortisol, then the patient may suffer from Cushion’s syndrome, while the low levels of cortisol may indicate that the patient suffers from Addison’s disease.