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Elevated cortisol levels can be extremely damaging to one’s health. Luckily, a number of examinations are available to detect, and ultimately, treat this situation.
The most common way of measuring elevated cortisol levels is via blood test; however, saliva samples are also an accepted way of determining the levels of cortisol that a given person has. Salivary cortisol levels have traditionally been shown to be an index of blood cortisol levels. Generally speaking, an individual’s highest cortisol levels are typically early in the morning around 6-8 a.m., and the lowest are somewhere around midnight.
Elevated cortisol levels usually mean that additional testing needs to be done to determine whether or not the problem is physical, hormonal or stress-related. If tests show only slightly elevated cortisol at a certain point, it might be smart to wait and redo the testing – given cortisol’s tendency to shift throughout the course of a given day.
Cushing’s syndrome is the byproduct of very elevated cortisol levels. Symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome include: diabetes, stretch marks on abdomen, decreased sex drive, moodiness, depression, high blood pressure, fatty tissue developing on face and upper back and (in women) irregular menstrual periods.
Cushing’s syndrome isn’t limited to humans. It can also occur in dogs and horses.
Anyone who is concerned that they may have elevated cortisol levels should contact their local physician and get a proper diagnosis.
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