cortisol....confused?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by s--raquel, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. s--raquel

    s--raquel New Member

    Once again, I tried reading old post for information but
    still have questions...hope i'm not bugging anyone by repeating same posts/question...

    My Doc is having my cortisol checked... still having extreme fatigue and depression after several meds...

    Is it bad if its high or low? And also, he's having blood
    drawn...I am mostly seeing it checked by saliva...any
    difference in the way it's tested?

    confused about cortisol!?!
    stacey
  2. s--raquel

    s--raquel New Member

  3. tlayne

    tlayne Member

    Sorry that you are confused. Let me see if I can help you.

    Cortisol is a hormone that your adrenal glands make. Your adrenal glands are located on the top of your kidneys. If you have cortisol malfunction it could also mean that your pituitary gland is not functioning well.

    Cortisol has many functions. Among them are helping the body break down food for energy, regulating blood sugar, heart rate, blood pressure, and sleep, to help you manage stress, counters inflammation and allergies, maintains personality and emotional well being.

    Cortisol needs to be balanced. If it is too high or too low you will have health problems. Do a search for Addison's Disease. If it is too high do a search of Cushing's syndrome.

    Normally cortisol levels are the highest in the morning. It should start rising 3 hours before you awake, to get the awake effect, helping you get ready for your day. Cortisol levels lower during the day. They should be the higest in the am and lowest at night before going to sleep. From my own personal experience if the cortisol levels are low, your thyroid levels could also be low. My T4 is low.

    Something else to note here, if you have chronic pain that is being unmamaged steroid treatment for low levels of cortisol will be ineffective.

    I had the saliva test. This test was taken thru out the day, and it showed my cortisol levels in the morning, noon, early evening, and between 11:00pm and 12:pm. Personally I feel this test gives you a more accurate account of levels thru out the day. However a blood test for thyroid is best. Be sure that they test TSH, T3, and T4.

    The blood test is usually done two times; one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

    If you have any other questions please ask. I am sure I left some unanswered. Hugs, Tam
  4. s--raquel

    s--raquel New Member

    Wow!Thanks for the information...it's a big help!
    Stacey
  5. pattieland

    pattieland New Member

    Thanks for info on cortisol
    Do you know what is considered hi or low? I have mine checked on Nov 17, along w TSH, T/4 & T/3 all by blood and endo did say it is useless to do after first thing in morn as specialty lab did in Dallas (Fibro&Fatigue Ctrs). I go to endo's lab at 7:10 am for cortisol test. He will decide how to adjust this new med for Synthroid/Cytomel by results, I suspect.
    The Thyrod Solution - book - explained a lot about all the T's b/c most docs only rely on TSH only and I just knew I was not getting all done that was necessary re testing for thyroid. I posted about having Taking Armour before. Hope this helps someone and thank you cause I was unsure about what cortisol cking meant, really.
  6. pattieland

    pattieland New Member

    Thanks for info on cortisol
    Do you know what is considered hi or low? I have mine checked on Nov 17, along w TSH, T/4 & T/3 all by blood and endo did say it is useless to do after first thing in morn as specialty lab did in Dallas (Fibro&Fatigue Ctrs). I go to endo's lab at 7:10 am for cortisol test. He will decide how to adjust this new med for Synthroid/Cytomel by results, I suspect.
    The Thyrod Solution - book - explained a lot about all the T's b/c most docs only rely on TSH only and I just knew I was not getting all done that was necessary re testing for thyroid. I posted about having Taking Armour before. Hope this helps someone and thank you cause I was unsure about what cortisol cking meant, really.
  7. tlayne

    tlayne Member

    Hi there! And welcome to this board! My cortisol levels were "Okay" in the morning. If they would have only checked it by a blood test in the morning they wouldn't have found that I am low the rest of the day, and then it rises at night when it needs to be the lowest. With a blood test they should at least do another test in the afternoon.

    Reference lab values can change from lab to lab. When your tests come back ask for a copy. As a nurse I have seen MDs look at lab values that were slightly lower than normal and say, call this pt and tell them that their labs were normal. Other MDs will "treat the pt not the lab values". For instance, if your Thyroid values are low some MDs will over look some low values, others would say that your symptoms indicate low thyroid, and eventho the values weren't too low they would use thyroid meds to treat your symptoms realizing that values are different from pt to pt.

    That said, low cortisol is treated with corticosteroids and they can have several extreme/harmful side effects. If you have low cortisol, but it isn't way out of whack I would consider using natural supplements to correct this instead of steroids. In my opinion, and experience, a compounding Pharm can be very informed in this area.

    good luck to you! Hugs, Tam
  8. springrose22

    springrose22 New Member

    There is a website called "labtestsonline", which might answer some of your questions. Marie