Cortisol is a stress hormone that is released when we are exposed to physical or mental stress. Cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands and helps you perform better physically and mentally in situations that the body perceives as acute stress. In the distant past, stress was a natural reaction to protect yourself from predators, whereas nowadays stress takes on a different form. Today, our stress comes from a modern setting, such as stress about paying the bills.
The stress we experience in today’s society often becomes chronic stress. This means high levels of cortisol building up in the body for long periods of time. This causes high levels of cortisol which is harmful and dangerous to the body, resulting in high blood pressure and high blood sugar which can cause type-2 diabetes.
However, too little cortisol in the body is not good either. Iif the cortisol levels become really low, the urine excretes large amounts of sodium, which can lead to life-threatening conditions.
It is important to know if you are at a risk of being affected by any of these conditions. By taking GetTested’s test, you can get an indication of your cortisol levels and take adequate measures to prevent cortisol disorders. GetTested’s test is a cortisol saliva test, instead
Learn More about the Cortisol test:
Below we will go deeper into the following sections:
- The function of cortisol
- Cortisol fluctuations
- Symptoms of high cortisol
- Symptoms of low cortisol
- Cortisol blood test vs cortisol saliva test
- Not Sure This Test is for You?
The function of cortisol
Cortisol has a variety of functions in our body. In acute stressful situations, cortisol secretion helps you perform better, both physically and mentally. Cortisol is also important for the movement of the intestines and controls the body’s metabolism of sugar, fat and protein. With its anti-inflammatory effect, cortisol counteracts the function of the immune system, which makes us more susceptible to infections.
Your cortisol level is not always related to your stress level. Physical activity also increases cortisol secretion in the body, but unlike secretion during stress, cortisol instead reduces inflammation that occurs on the muscles. In the medical world, cortisol is best known for its anti-inflammatory and muscle-degrading effects in the treatment of inflammatory diseases, and this is then treated by adding cortisone.
Cortisol also controls the immune system and reduces swelling in allergies and insect bites. Therefore, Cortisol is a vital hormone for our wellbeing.
Cortisol levels should be at the highest in the morning and lowest at night. The metabolism of fats, sugars and proteins is all controlled by the cortisol. The amount of cortisol itself depends on what you do and how much stress you put on yourself. Stress can raise the cortisol levels, as well as being injured, having fever, infections or too high adrenaline.
Symptoms of high cortisol:
In the long run, however, high levels are harmful to the body and with high levels of cortisol for a long time, fat burning decreases and impairs insulin sensitivity, which in the long run can lead to obesity and type-2 diabetes.
- Low libido
- Weight gain
- Difficulty sleeping
- High blood pressure
- Poor immune function
Symptoms of low cortisol:
Low levels of cortisol can lead to menstrual disorders, muscle weakness and general mental illness, as well as cortisol inhibiting inflammation. In more rare and extreme cases, low cortisol can lead to adrenal insufficiency (also known as Addison’s disease). In such cases, the body does not make enough hormones. Diseases like Addison’s disease can cause life-threatening conditions and usually need to be medicated, but “Milder” conditions still cause a huge stress on the body and mind and should not be left untreated.
The most common symptoms of low cortisol are:
- Menstrual disorders
- Muscle weakness
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of appetite
Cortisol blood test vs cortisol saliva test
GetTested’s Cortisol Test measures your cortisol levels from your saliva instead of blood, making it a lot more convenient to use. For example, people with naturally cold hands may experience difficulty acquiring blood from pricking their finger, which makes a blood test not ideal. It is also more comfortable for people who are sensitive to blood and needles.
When it comes to measuring the levels of cortisol, a saliva test will guarantee you reliable results.
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How does the Cortisol Test work?
The Cortisol Test is a saliva test that you collect at home; it is collected on seven occasions during a 12-hour period. The first three tests are merged into one morning value, so in total your test result will display five values: morning, 2 hours after waking up, 5 hours after waking up, 8 hours after waking up and 12 hours after waking up. The samples are then sent to our ISO certified lab for analysis and you will receive your result answer digitally.
What are normal levels of cortisol?
Usually cortisol levels peak in the early morning and then decline throughout the day, reaching their lowest point around midnight.
Though it depends on the time and person, these are the average ranges:
- 6 a.m. to 8 a.m: 10 – 20 mcg/dL
- Around 4 p.m: 3 – 10 mcg/dL
How to test cortisol levels at home?
You can test your own cortisol levels at home with GetTested’s saliva test. You will collect seven samples during a 12-hour period. Check the instructions for more details on how to perform the test.
What is a 9am cortisol blood test for?
Cortisol tests are mostly performed in the mornings, when cortisol levels are at their highest point. Cortisol levels also vary throughout the day. GetTested’s test also must be performed in the morning, and multiple times throughout the day. However, our test is a saliva cortisol test, not a blood cortisol test.
How long does it take until I get my results?
You will receive your result digitally as soon as your sample has been analysed by the lab. This should take about a week.
How to lower cortisol levels?
Lowering your cortisol levels naturally, is mostly about reducing stress. Eat a healthy plant-based diet, exercise, get enough sleep, take deep breaths and engage in activities and hobbies that help you relax.
Not Sure This Test is for You?
If you’re still uncertain whether this test is right for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly and knowledgeable customer support team. We’re here to guide you towards the tests that best match your health concerns and objectives. You can contact us through our contact page or use our live chat for immediate assistance.