Cortisol levels


I had a blood test done to check for cortisol , T3 and T4 due to my symptoms (fatigue, always moody, headaches, some weight gain around my belly etc). T3 and T4 came back normal but my cortisol was high , 900 nmo/L (range was 138-635), the test was taken at 6.30 am. I am now waiting the results of the 24h urine test. Are my levels high enough to indicate cushing's syndrome ? and could the be the cause of the constant headaches I have and fatigue I have ? I am aware morning cortisol levels can be high, not sure over the range is normal though ...

ANy advice would be appreciated :)

9 Replies

  • It's kind of not a riveting lecture but did you watch the video posted today about Adrenal fatigue etc.?

  • I haven't seen any videos. I've only signed up today, where do I find them ?

  • Welcome to the forum. Can't help you with your query but this is a great site for help and advice. Lots of info on the Thyroid UK site as well.

  • Are you taking any other medication at all? Whether its prescribed or over the counter? Most the time high cortisol can be caused by medication containing corticosteroids and thats what happened to me. My doctor gave me a nasal spray with that ingredient and I used it for over a year, which I assumed was okay because she kept prescribing it to me, and then I found my cortisol levels were at 700. When I stopped taking it, it went back down again but to be honest I haven't noticed that I feel any better after it lowered. Its just something to consider.

    Hope you get to the bottom of this soon

  • Thanks for your reply. I don't take any medication at all and I am not on birth control pills.

  • Hi

    I have been doing extensive testing for cushings thru my endo and he told me that lots of different testing needs to be done. He has done multiple 24 hr urines and first morning urine / creatinine ratios I think plus I had a salivary test which was the 4 sample kind over 24 hrs. Like yours my am cortisol was high but so was my nightime one. I have done some research on the subject and it seems quite difficult to diagnose ! Certainly high cortisol with signs and symptoms need to be investigated and I guess the 24 hr urine will tell you more.

    Cortisol can be high in the normal circadian pattern or like mine it can be high but with dysregulated pattern - I'm now waiting for MRI results and will then have to investigate ways to reduce my cortisol and regulate the dysfunctional pattern if not cushings.

    I THINK adrenal exhaustion can be in a stage where it manifests with high cortisol first although my endo was not keen on this theory !

    Are you doing this by yourself or with a good doctor ?

  • Thanks for you reply. I am doing this with my doctor and I will know more in a couple of days. Sometimes it's so hard to wait for results ...

  • Yes it really is. I first spoke to my endo about my weight gain and other symptoms in January and here we are in Sep and I still don't know. He said it can be difficult and slow as well because it can be cyclical or episodic so have to test when cortisol is up. I got the hang of that because I realised quite quickly that my high cortisol tests coincided with feeling very ill on certain days.

    So that might be something else to bare in mind and if you think the symptoms fit then don't give up too quickly because cushjngs can be mild and cyclical and episodic. and is often missed !

  • If you had an early morning test, 9am or earlier I wouldn't worry as I would say it's about right. Mine was 195nmol which is at the low end. Ideally, cortisol should be about 700 at 9am as it drops throughout the day with night time levels being the lowest making you ready for sleep.

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