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Cortisol

1000
4.2
NABL, CAP, ISO
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Overview
Interpreting Results
FAQ's
Cortisol

Overview of Cortisol

What is Cortisol?

Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands that play vital roles in nutrient metabolism, maintenance of blood glucose and water balance, and healthy immune system. Most cortisol in blood remains bound to proteins, and only a small portion remains free and biologically active. The Blood Cortisol Test measures the total amount of cortisol hormone in blood.

Why is Cortisol done?


The Blood Cortisol Test is performed:

·         To diagnose Cushing’s syndrome caused due to high cortisol levels

·         To diagnose Addison’s disease

·

        

To detect and diagnose conditions of the adrenal glands or the pituitary glands



What does Cortisol Measure?


Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands that helps in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It also plays a regulatory role in maintaining the blood sugar levels, water balance of the body, and is also essential in the maintenance of a healthy immune system. Most cortisol in the body is found bound to proteins, and only a small portion remains free and metabolically active.

Level of cortisol hormone rises and falls during the course of a day following a diurnal pattern. Cortisol levels are highest in the early morning, drops slowly throughout the day reaching its lowest around midnight, and again increases slowly through the night to reach its highest early next morning. This diurnal pattern of cortisol secretion is maintained by the hypothalamus in the brain and pituitary gland located just below the below the brain. Fall in the blood cortisol levels stimulates the production of Corticotropin Releasing Hormone (CRH) from the hypothalamus. CRH stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete the Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH), which in turn stimulates the production of cortisol from the adrenal glands to increase cortisol levels in blood. Cortisol levels are regulated by a feedback mechanism. When cortisol levels rise to the required levels, CRH secretion from hypothalamus is stopped, which in turn stops ACTH secretion from pituitary, thereby stopping cortisol secretion from the adrenal glands. Symptoms associated with increased or decreased levels of cortisol hormone appear when this feedback mechanism is disturbed due to diseases or lifestyle.



Preparation for Cortisol

  • No special preparation required

Sample Type for Cortisol

The sample type collected for Cortisol is: Blood

Interpreting Cortisol results

Interpretations


Normal cortisol levels may vary among individuals. Increased or decreased cortisol levels can be assessed only if cortisol level in blood does not follow the diurnal pattern as it should.

Cortisol levels may fall outside the normal range for the time of day due to diseases or due to lifestyle factors such as irregular sleeping times.


Causes of increased cortisol levels:

·    Long term treatment with glucocorticosteroid hormones like prednisone, dexamethasone, etc.

·       Pituitary tumors that increase ACTH production

·       ACTH producing tumors in other parts of the body

·       Adrenal tumors that increase cortisol secretion

·      Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, a disease which causes excessive growth of adrenal gland cells

·    Recent surgery, illness, injury, or sepsis

·        CRH producing tumors in rare cases

Causes of decreased cortisol levels:

·         Reduced cortisol production due to damage or diseases of the adrenal gland (primary adrenal insufficiency) like Addison’s disease

·         Reduced ACTH production due to reduced activity of pituitary gland or pituitary tumors (secondary adrenal insufficiency)





Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Cortisol

Frequently Asked Questions about Cortisol

Q. How is this test performed?
This test is performed on a blood sample. A syringe with a fine needle is used to withdraw blood sample from a blood vessel in your arm generally from the inner side of the elbow area. The doctor, nurse or the phlebotomist will tie an elastic band around your arm which will help the blood vessels to swell with blood. This makes it easier to withdraw blood. You may be asked to tightly clench your fist. Once the veins are clearly visible, the area is cleaned with an antiseptic solution and then the needle is inserted into the blood vessel to collect the sample. You may feel a tiny pinprick during the procedure. Blood sample once collected is then sent to the laboratory.
Q. Is there any risk associated with this test?
There is no risk associated with the test. However, since this test involves a needle prick to withdraw the blood sample, in very rare cases, a patient may experience increased bleeding, hematoma formation (blood collection under the skin), bruising or infection at the site of needle prick.
Q. Is there any preparation required before the test?
Inform the doctor about the medications you may be taking. No other specific preparations are usually required before this test.
Q. What factors can affect the cortisol test results?
The cortisol test results can be affected by a number of factors, including: · A lifestyle that does not allow a regular sleeping pattern · Stress · Certain medications like birth control pills, glucocorticoids, and steroid hormone based medications · Physical trauma · Final trimester of pregnancy · High physical activity in trained athletes · Alcoholism · Malnutrition
Q. What additional tests can be prescribed by your doctor in case of abnormal result?
Additional tests that may be prescribed in case of abnormal cortisol test result are: · Urine Cortisol Test · Salivary Cortisol Test · Dexamethasone Suppression Test · ACTH Stimulation Test · CT scan or MRI for suspected tumors
Q. What is Cushing’s syndrome?
Cushing’s syndrome refers to a group of conditions caused due to a sustained increase in the levels of cortisol hormone in the body. Increased levels of cortisol are most commonly caused due to corticosteroid medications used to treat other diseases, but it may also be caused due to overproduction of cortisol from the adrenal glands due to ACTH secreting tumor in the pituitary gland or elsewhere in the body, or adrenal gland diseases like adrenal hyperplasia. Symptoms include fat deposition between the shoulders (buffalo hump), puffy face, purple or pink stretch marks on the abdomen, high blood pressure, loss of bone density, slow wound healing, increased body hair in females, weakness, fatigue, growth impairment, etc.
Q. What is Addison’s disease?
Addison’s disease, also called primary adrenal insufficiency, is a condition where the adrenal glands do not produce sufficient quantities of cortisol hormone due to damage to the adrenal glands, diseases affecting the adrenal glands, or tumors in the adrenal glands. Symptoms include fatigue and weakness, rapid weight loss, appearance of dark patches of skin, low blood pressure, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, etc. Addison’s disease can be life threatening, and can produce severe symptoms suddenly in a condition called addisonian crisis or acute adrenal failure.
Q. What are the symptoms associated with increased cortisol levels?
Higher than normal cortisol levels in blood can show the following symptoms: · Hypertension or high blood pressure · Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar · Obesity · Fragile skin · Appearance of purplish lines on the skin of abdomen · Weakness and muscular degeneration · Osteoporosis · Irregular menstruation
Q. What are the symptoms associated with decreased cortisol levels?
Lower than normal cortisol levels in blood can show the following symptoms: · Rapid weight loss · Fatigue and muscle weakness · Low blood pressure · Pain in the abdomen · Dark patches of skin in Addison’s disease
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Provided By

NABL

CAP

ISO

We focus on providing patients quality diagnostic healthcare services in India. Through our network, we offer patients convenient locations for their diagnostic healthcare services and efficient service. With over 3368 diagnostic and related healthcare tests and services offered, we believe we are capable of performing substantially all of the diagnostic healthcare tests and services currently prescribed by physicians in India. Our key competitive strengths are: Business model focused on the patient as a customer and an established consumer healthcare brand associated with quality services, in a market where patients generally choose their diagnostic healthcare service provider. Well-positioned to leverage upon one of the fastest-growing segments of the Indian healthcare industry. A network whose growth yields greater economies of scale, combined with a hub and spoke model that is scalable for further growth. Centralized information technology platform that fully integrates our network and is scalable. Attractive financial performance, financial profile and return on invested capital. Experienced leadership team with strong industry expertise and successful track record. Some of our laboratories have achieved International Organization for Standardization, or ISO, certification for their quality systems. Our National Reference Laboratory has obtained ISO 9001:2008 certification (for the performance of routine and advanced diagnostic pathology testing services, including clinical trials), ISO 15189:2007 (for quality management in medical laboratories), ISO 15189:2012 certification (in the field of medical testing) and ISO 27001:2013 certification (for establishing an effective information management system that maintains and processes information security at our data center).
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