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Ask the Experts
Stress, a condition that has become increasingly common in recent decades, is attributed as the reason for many ailments. However, stress is not as bad as it is usually considered to be. While most people talk about stress, they might not be very clear on what it means. Stress is a condition where the human body has a biological reaction to certain situations. When the body perceives a threat or a major obstacle, stress triggers a flight-or -fight response by releasing various hormones and chemicals. Stress has been an important tool for survival for mankind; even today stress is important to help us deal with deadlines, obstacles, and sudden emergencies.
The negative aspect of stress though is that stress for long periods of time or chronic stress can impact health. Most people might experience stress at some point in their lives; however, it may be a cause for concern if it is a regular issue. Cortisol is the main hormone released when a person experiences stress, but, it performs many other functions as well.
If you feel that your stress levels are high or constant, then getting a Cortisol Test is advisable to assess the underlying cause. A Cortisol Test can help check your cortisol levels and determine if they are indeed a cause for concern. In the Cortisol Test, a sample is taken by the phlebotomist and sent to the lab to perform a specific test.
Symptoms of high cortisol:
- Weight gain, especially around the middle
- Easy bruising
- Slowed healing
- Thinning skin
- Severe fatigue
- Concentration difficulties
Why Cortisol Testing is important?
Cortisol is the main hormone released by the body when in stress. During a situation of stress, cortisol plays a very important role in controlling multiple body functions including raising glucose levels and helping the brain use it more effectively, restraining nonessential functions during threatening situations, changing immune response, impacting parts of the brain that control mood, motivation, fear, etc. However, cortisol performs many other functions in the body that are equally important. Thus, it is important to get a Cortisol test to check if there is a problem with cortisol production in the body.
Health risks of high cortisol:
- High blood pressure
- Sleep issues
- Type II diabetes
- Weight gain
- Weakened immune system
How Cortisol Test is performed?
A Cortisol Test is performed to check whether your body is producing enough cortisol. Cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands. The pituitary gland impacts how much cortisol adrenal glands produce. A high level of cortisol or overproduction of cortisol can be referred to as Cushing Syndrome, whereas low levels or underproduction is known as Addison's disease. Generally, as a first step, the doctor will take note of your symptoms and subsequently recommend a Cortisol Test. The Cortisol Test is a blood test where the phlebotomist will collect samples of blood from you which are sent to the lab to test for the specific parameter.