High Cortisol levels

Dr. Anurag Shahi (AIIMS)MBBS,MD

July 18, 2023

January 29, 2024

High Cortisol levels
High Cortisol levels

Cortisol is known as the stress hormone because it plays an important role in the body's response to stress. It works with parts of your brain to control mood, motivation, and fear. Let us tell you, this steroid hormone is made in the adrenal glands. Most cells in our bodies have cortisol receptors, which use cortisol for a variety of functions such as regulation of blood sugar and metabolism, reduction of inflammation, and memory formation.

Cortisol is essential for your health, but an increased amount of it can harm the body. In such a situation, in this article, we will know what are the symptoms, causes, tests, and treatment of increased cortisol.

Please click on the link here to know about the treatment for stress and anxiety.

High Cortisol Symptoms

Many symptoms can be seen in the condition of high cortisol. However, these symptoms can vary depending on the cause of the increase in your cortisol level. Symptoms of increased cortisol include -

(Read More - Cortisol Test)

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High Cortisol Causes

Many things can cause cortisol to rise, including -

  • Chronic Stress - Chronic stress is the stress experienced by a person over a long period and on a sustained basis. If left untreated, it can negatively affect your health.
  • Medication - Corticosteroids and oral contraceptives can increase your cortisol levels.
  • Estrogen - Elevated estrogen levels in women may be associated with increased cortisol levels.
  • Adrenal gland tumors - The adrenal glands produce cortisol, so if there is any problem with these glands, it can affect the production of the cortisol hormone.
  • Pituitary gland problems - If the pituitary gland becomes overactive, it stimulates your adrenal glands to make too much cortisol.
  • Malnutrition - Suffering from eating disorders such as depression, diabetesPCOS, and alcohol abuse are also linked to high cortisol levels.

(Read More - Effects of stress on the body)

High Cortisol levels test

If your cortisol levels are too high or too low, it could mean you have a disorder of the adrenal glands. Blood tests, saliva tests, or urine tests can be done to measure cortisol levels.

Cortisol blood test

The cortisol blood test is usually done in the morning when your cortisol levels are at their highest.

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Cortisol saliva test

The cortisol saliva test usually involves taking a sample of saliva by inserting a swab into the mouth. This test can also be done at home.

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Cortisol urine test

The cortisol urine test is also called the urinary-free cortisol test or UFC test. This test detects cortisol in the urine.

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Imaging tests

This test includes X-rayultrasoundMRICT scan, etc. In the event of high cortisol, your pituitary gland and adrenal glands can be imaged using a CT scan or MRI to check for tumors or other abnormalities.

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High Cortisol Level test purpose

With the help of cortisol level tests, it is easily known whether the level of cortisol hormone is increased or less than required. There are diseases, such as Addison's disease and Cushing's disease, that affect the amount of cortisol your adrenal glands produce. The test is used to diagnose these diseases and to assess the functioning of the adrenal and pituitary glands. Cortisol plays an important role in many body systems. These systems include -

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High cortisol level risk factor and treatment

Unmanaged high cortisol can have serious consequences on your health. If this condition is left untreated, then due to the increased level of cortisol, there is a risk of the following conditions -

High cortisol can be a problem in any person from time to time. It is a natural response of your body that is triggered when it senses some kind of harm or danger. If the problem of high cortisol persists for a long time, it can have permanent effects on health.

Get blood tests or other necessary tests done as soon as possible after symptoms of high cortisol appear, so that it can be known at the appropriate time how much cortisol is increased. Based on the test results, the doctor will try to narrow down the underlying cause and help bring the cortisol levels back down to a safe level.

Medications to control the excessive production of cortisol in the adrenal gland include ketoconazole, mitotane (Lysodren), and metyrapone (Metopirone).

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If someone is feeling anxiety, stress, fatigue or high blood sugar, etc., then it can be due to a high level of cortisol hormone. In this situation, it becomes necessary to control the level of cortisol. Some important tests are done to detect high cortisol. Based on the reports of those tests, the doctor gives proper treatment. Some essential medicines can be given for this.

(Read More - Acute Stress Disorder)

Doctors for High Cortisol levels

Dr. Narayanan N K Dr. Narayanan N K Endocrinology
16 Years of Experience
Dr. Tanmay Bharani Dr. Tanmay Bharani Endocrinology
15 Years of Experience
Dr. Sunil Kumar Mishra Dr. Sunil Kumar Mishra Endocrinology
23 Years of Experience
Dr. Parjeet Kaur Dr. Parjeet Kaur Endocrinology
19 Years of Experience
Consult a Doctor

Medicines for High Cortisol levels

Medicines listed below are available for High Cortisol levels. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.