Cortisol - what kind of substance, and what is its role in the body? Norm, diagnosis and causes of deviations

The human hormonal background is a very complex mechanism, which consists of a number of important units - hormones. One of these is the element produced by the adrenal cortex - cortisol.

This substance performs a number of functions, and takes an active part in the multiple processes occurring in the human body. With its deficiency or excess, a person begins to feel general malaise, and the lack of timely treatment can have extremely dangerous consequences.

Table of contents:
  • Information about the hormone, its importance for humans
  • Features of the hormone
  • Optimal hormone indicators, the need for analysis
  • The hormone norm in the blood and in the urine
  • What does the study show and how to prepare for it?
  • Blood donation for the
  • study. Collection of urine for the
  • study. Causes, symptoms and treatment of lowered cortisol.
  • . Clinical manifestations of
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    Information about the hormone, its importance to humans

    Stress hormone cortisol is an element that is produced by the cells of the adrenal cortex under the influence of signals sent by the hypothalamic-pituitary system. The substance protects the body from shock and other adverse effects in the event of stressful situations, as well as at the time of nervous overstrain.

    In addition, the functions of cortisol are:

    • ensuring normal blood glucose levels;
    • Strengthening the immune system;
    • regulation of the work of the urinogenital sphere;
    • normalization of metabolic processes, etc.

    And this is not all, for which cortisol is responsible. This substance helps relieve pain, relieve inflammation, and also has anti-edema effects.

    If its level in the body is in the normal range, the person does not feel any ailments. But any deviations in one direction or another immediately entail the occurrence of unpleasant symptoms, which, moreover, can be very dangerous!

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    Features of the hormone

    Once you understand what cortisol is and what important processes it is responsible for, you cannot ignore some of its features. First of all, the distinctive feature of this element is the time of its development. It depends on it the content of the substance in the human body.

    So, the level of cortisol in the blood reaches its maximum marks in the morning. During the day, it is produced as regularly, but its concentration is somewhat reduced. Minimum indicators of cortisol reach in the evening and at night.

    Remarkable. The content of cortisol in the blood is directly dependent on the gender of the patient. This is necessarily taken into account by the doctor when interpreting the results of clinical studies.

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    Optimum hormone levels, need for analysis

    The norm of the hormone cortisol is different not only for men and women. In addition to sex, the patient’s age also affects the content of an element in the blood. In addition, an increased or decreased level of it may result from the influence of various external factors.

    Particular importance is given to what type of laboratory test was assigned to the patient. Thus, the normal level of cortisol in the blood test is significantly different from that in the analysis of urine. The units of measurement are also different, however, in the form of the laboratory where the test will be carried out, all the important nuances are indicated, so you should not worry if you notice “suspicious” numbers - the competent specialist still needs to interpret the data.

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    The norm of the hormone in the blood and urine

    The norm of cortisol in the blood of an adult can vary from 28 to 1049 nanomoles per liter. To obtain more reliable and accurate data, the biomaterial is collected twice a day - in the morning and in the evening.

    Normal cortisol levels in daily urine should not be below 28.5 or above 213 micrograms per day.

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    When are tests performed?

    A blood test for the content of cortisol in it is necessary for:

    • the development of osteoporosis;
    • presence of acne on the face;
    • patient complaints of muscle weakness and causeless muscle pain;
    • hirsutism in women;
    • skin hyperpigmentation;
    • early onset of sexual development in adolescents - boys and girls;
    • menstrual disorders - oligomenorrhea.

    These are far from all the reasons for which venous blood or daily urinalysis for cortisol should be donated. In any case, the final decision will be made by the attending physician - endocrinologist, gynecologist, andrologist or other specialist.

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    What does the study show, and how to prepare for it?

    What does cortisol analysis show? With the help of a clinical study, you can see how high or low the substance is in the blood. But no more - more accurate diagnostic methods will give more accurate results. Their choice depends on how exactly the hormonal failure manifests itself, and what assumptions about a possible diagnosis the attending physician has.

    Of great importance is the preparation for the delivery of blood and urine to cortisol. Without compliance with certain rules, the test data will be inaccurate.

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    Blood donation for the study

    How to donate blood for cortisol? For the test, you will need a biomaterial taken from the main vein on the arm. Preparation for the test requires:

    • not taking any food for half a day before the analysis;
    • discontinuation of hormone drugs 24 hours before the test;
    • exclusion of intense physical and psychological stress on the eve of the analysis;
    • quitting smoking 3 hours before blood collection( both in the morning and in the evening).

    Note. Many women worry about the question of when, that is, on which day of the cycle cortisol should be taken. The blood for the test is given on any day of the menstrual cycle, if the patient is not receiving oral hormonal contraception. If it takes place, it is necessary to inform the attending physician about this. Under such circumstances, the doctor may prescribe a different study date.

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    Collecting urine for

    research Now let's look at how to collect urine for cortisol. To do this, you need to remember some important nuances:

    1. The collection of biological material must be carried out in containers with a capacity of 3 liters.
    2. The first portion of urine after waking up should not overflow into the container. Start collecting biomaterial should be, starting with the second urination.
    3. You must remember at what time the event began. At the same time, the next day, the collection of urine should be stopped.

    These are almost all the requirements for how to take an analysis of urine for cortisol. Before going to the laboratory, the biological material should be thoroughly shaken and poured into a special small container for urine( 100-200 ml).

    Before starting the collection of urine, a small amount of reagent, 1 g of boric acid, can be added to the container. However, this must be done by the laboratory technician, or by the patient himself, according to the instructions of the doctor.

    The research duration in each laboratory is different. Wait for the results will have, on average, from 3 to 14 days.

    Again, if the question arises when to take urine for cortisol, then women should do this before or after their period. During menstruation, the test may give false results.

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    Causes, symptoms and treatment of lowered cortisol

    Lack of cortisol never occurs on level ground - there are a number of reasons for this. Often they are pathological, and are directly related to abnormalities in the work or structure of the adrenal glands. Hypocorticism can be caused by:

    • development of Addison's disease;
    • congenital adrenal anomalies( in particular, their pathological growth);
    • malformations of the hypothalamic-pituitary system;
    • hypothyroidism of varying etiology and severity;
    • long-term use of hormonal drugs based on GKS.

    Low cortisol in the blood can be the result of overwork and lack of sleep. But at the same time, the patient himself may not be aware of the rejection, since many of the symptoms of the pathological condition are often simply ignored by them. However, the longer this anomaly lasts, the more dangerous the consequences will be!

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    Clinical manifestations

    Lowered cortisol is manifested by the following clinical features:

    • with persistent( chronic) fatigue;
    • hypotension;
    • decrease or complete loss of appetite;
    • sharp weight loss;
    • fainting( especially in women);
    • nausea and vomiting;
    • pain in the abdomen;
    • muscle pain;
    • weakness even with light physical exertion;
    • decreased sexual desire;
    • hair loss;
    • prone to depression;
    • depression of psycho-emotional state.

    As can be seen, if cortisol is lowered, it is no less dangerous than when it is elevated. To overcome unpleasant symptoms, you should not wait until it passes by itself. Timely seeking medical help is the main pledge of recovery!

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    Ways to normalize the hormonal element

    How to normalize the hormone cortisol? First of all, it is necessary to determine the goal. That is, to understand, you need to raise or lower it.

    If we are talking about a deficiency of the hormonal element, the patient is given replacement therapy using glucocorticoids. The dosage and duration of the course of treatment is a purely individual factor, therefore the therapeutic scheme is developed by the attending physician for each patient separately.

    To lower the rates, apply special drugs - cortisol blockers, or anti-catabolic. Among the most affordable and relatively safe drugs, doctors often resort to prescription:

    • Fast Protein in an amount of 20-30 g;
    • Leucine;Clenbuterol
    • ;
    • Agmatina;
    • Anabolic Steroids.

    Ascorbic acid is a good and highly effective blocker for cortisol. If it is intolerable, or for any other reasons for which vitamin C can not be appointed, you can resort to the use of fish oil or amino acids.

    Foods rich in protein and carbohydrates in large quantities also significantly inhibit cortisol production. However, without prior consultation with the doctor should not take any measures. Self-treatment can lead to serious consequences, and this should not be forgotten, no matter what deviations in the body’s work were not discussed!