How does the 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.
Cortisol, also called the body’s “stress hormone”, 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 long run, high levels of cortisol are harmful and dangerous to the body with effects such as high blood sugar, type-1 diabetes or high blood pressure. Too little cortisol in the body is not good either, and if the cortisol levels become really low, large amounts of sodium can be excreted via the urine, which can lead to life-threatening conditions. It is important to know if you are in the risk zone for being affected by any of the conditions. By taking GetTested’s test, you can get an indication of whether you are in need of further investigations for diseases that can cause cortisol disorders.
Symptoms of low cortisol:
- Muscle weakness
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of appetite
- Menstrual disorders
Symptoms of high cortisol:
- Weight gain
- Gets easily sick
- Difficulty sleeping
- Weakened sex drive
- High blood pressure
The function of cortisol
Cortisol has a variety of functions in our body. In acute stress 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. In the long run, however, high levels are harmful to the body and for a long time with high levels of cortisol, fat burning decreases and impairs insulin sensitivity, which in the long run can lead to obesity and type-2 diabetes. You can also suffer from menstrual disorders, muscle weakness and general mental illness, as well as cortisol inhibiting inflammation. With its anti-inflammatory effect, cortisol counteracts the function of the immune system, which makes us more susceptible to infections.
However, it is important to understand that 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 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. Cortisol also controls the immune system and reduces swelling in allergies and insect bites.
Cortisol is a vital hormone for our wellbeing. Diseases like Addison’s disease can cause life-threatening conditions and usually needs to be medicated. “Milder” conditions can still cause a huge stress on the body and mind and should not be left untreated.
Nice to finally get an answer to why I have felt so incredibly tired for a long time with such low cortisol values. Very satisfied!