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Old 09-19-2008, 04:47 PM   #1
Bradley Allan Martyn
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Cortisol Levels

How can you check physically if your cortisol levels are too high, and insights? or if this is even possible, i know of the crushing syndrome, and accumulated fatty tissue in the upper cheek bones, but how about bags under your eyes that never seem to go away? Mind you i get a lot of sleep during the night.....just curious on what others think.
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Old 09-19-2008, 06:14 PM   #2
Frank E Morel
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Re: Cortisol Levels

testing is done by interval saliva tests or blood tests
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Old 09-22-2008, 04:10 PM   #3
Gittit Shwartz
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Re: Cortisol Levels

Cortisol can be tested for in blood, urine and saliva. Depending on what you're trying to find out, some tests may be more useful (or useless) than others.
Assuming you don't have Cushings' what you really want to look at is your "cortisol curve" - how cortisol levels vary as the day goes along. Normally, cortisol is high in the morning (wakes you up) and ebbs smoothly until you are ready to fall asleep at night. Cortisol spikes late in the day are bad news.
The best test for mapping your cortisol curve is taking saliva samples at several points during the day - it's called Adrenal Stress Index (ASI).
Blood tests are quite likely to give bum results unless you are really cool with needles.
Urine collection will give you the overall cortisol load during the day but will tell you nothing about the spikes that may be causing your problems. For example, if you have low cortisol in the morning and high at night (completely reversed cortisol curve) you will still get a normal reading of this test.
If you have Cushing's your cortisol will be high on any test you take.
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Old 09-22-2008, 05:33 PM   #4
Brett Dartt
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Re: Cortisol Levels

is there a way to do this at home?
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Old 09-22-2008, 05:44 PM   #5
Dave Matteson
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Re: Cortisol Levels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradley Allan Martyn View Post
How about bags under your eyes that never seem to go away?
Of the number of things that could cause this, high cortisol would be very low on my list. Unless you have other symptoms or signs that you haven't mentioned the top three things this could be are:

1) Normal. Some people just naturally have 'baggy' eyes.
2) People who have allergies (seasonal or food allergies in particular) often have "allergic shiners." Google that for more information and/or pictures.
3) Getting more than 8-9 hours of sleep per night can cause increased fluid accumulation under your eyes since it is more difficult for fluid to drain away when you are lying approximately flat (no help from gravity).
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Old 09-22-2008, 05:49 PM   #6
Dave Matteson
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Re: Cortisol Levels

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Originally Posted by Brett Dartt View Post
is there a way to do this at home?
Why would you want to do this at home? I imagine somewhere out there you can find a mail-in test or sweet-talk a lab tech, but I doubt it's cheap particularly since there wouldn't be any insurance coverage.

If you're particularly concerned about a problem with cortisol regulation, just see a doctor. If your home cortisol test came back abnormal, you'd have to see a doctor anyway for treatment options.

If you're doing it purely for curiosity's sake, just assume it's normal and save yourself a lot of cash.
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Old 09-22-2008, 05:52 PM   #7
Gittit Shwartz
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Re: Cortisol Levels

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Originally Posted by Brett Dartt View Post
is there a way to do this at home?
No. That is, the ASI saliva test is done at home, but you have to send the test tubes off to a lab for analysis.

Lots of things you can observe about yourself are pretty sure-fire indicators of cortisol problems. Tired in the morning and wired at night = reversed cortisol curve. Tendency to accumulate belly fat = chronically high cortisol.
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Old 09-22-2008, 05:56 PM   #8
Mike Neill
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Re: Cortisol Levels

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Originally Posted by Bradley Allan Martyn View Post
i know of the crushing syndrome
It's Cushing's Syndrome, not "the crushing syndrome." Cushing's Syndrome.
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Old 09-22-2008, 06:05 PM   #9
Gittit Shwartz
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Re: Cortisol Levels

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Originally Posted by Dave Matteson View Post
If you're particularly concerned about a problem with cortisol regulation, just see a doctor. If your home cortisol test came back abnormal, you'd have to see a doctor anyway for treatment options.
Conventional docs will offer you either blood tests or urine collection, both of which are pretty useless for most cortisol problems. In fact, they generally don't recognize the existence of "cortisol regulation problems". If you don't have Cushing's (excess cortisol) or Addison's (too little cortisol), you're fine. Needless to say, there are many ways between the two extremes that your cortisol levels may not be right.
Definitely get the tests that are covered by insurance, but if they pronounce you "normal" and you still don't feel right, don't hesitate to look further.
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