NKC Blog - Cortisol Levels
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Cortisol Levels

Cortisol is a common hormone that releases when your body is under stress. Playing a crucial role in your system cortisol can change the way you lead your life. Balancing the right cortisol level is essential for your health, and too much or too little cortisol can lead to ongoing issues.


Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands - located on top of your kidneys. When pushed through your system cortisol can: 


  • Determine the way your body reacts to dangerous and stressful situations
  • Increase your body's metabolism of glucose
  • Help in controlling your blood pressure
  • Reduce inflammation


In addition, your body needs cortisol to help create the right flight or fight response to help you develop a healthy and stable understanding of threats and dangerous situations thus making cortisol a key agent in the way you fight. 


What Does Cortisol Do?

The majority of cells in the human body act as cortisol reception, enabling them to affect various aspects of your body. Cortisol can help control inflammation, blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, and help formulate memories. Additionally, cortisol has control over water and salt found in your system, which allows it to control your blood pressure. Furthermore, cortisol can help support fetus development during pregnancy, making it a crucial hormone that works to achieve overall well-being. 


Cortisol Level Test

A cortisol level test is performed to help check the cortisol level in your body with too much or too little cortisol can be a cause for distress. 

Cushing diseases, and Addison diseases which can affect the amount of cortisol your body produces. With a simple test, you can understand the functioning of adrenal glands and pituitary glands, allowing the doctor to act accordingly. 


Only by taking a cortisol level test can one assess the underlying issues you have been dealing with. This is because cortisol plays a vital role in various systems of your body, including:


  • Immune system
  • Stress responses
  • Circulatory system
  • Nervous system
  • Skeletal system
  • Breakdown of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates


How To Prepare For A Cortisol Test?

Your cortisol levels vary throughout the day, which is why it's best to get your test done in the morning. Keep in mind that cortisol levels are at their peak at that time, making it the ideal choice. 


You are not required to fast before your cortisol test. However, you must be aware that some drugs can affect your final result. This is why you may be asked to avoid taking drugs that may increase your cortisol. Apart from these cortisol levels are increased by: 


  • Drugs that contain estrogen
  • Pregnancy
  • Synthetic glucocorticoids - for instance, prednisone


Similarly, cortisol levels are decreased by: 


  • Phenytoin
  • Drugs that contain androgens


There are times when physical stress, illness, and emotional stress can boost your cortisol levels caused due to a boost of ACTH - a normal stress response. 


Once your test results come back, your doctor will go through the results with you. Depending on your test results, you may be asked to take on some extra tests. Or you may be asked to make some lifestyle adjustments. Either way, your physician can help you throughout the process, making sure you get the treatment you need to maintain a healthy cortisol level. 


Yours in self-care,

Adrian Wilk

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