Thyroid UK
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Cortisol Blood result help please

I have just picked up a copy of the results of my dexa blood test for Cushings.

The receptionist told me over the phone last week that the result was good! I have no idea what good is in this case but my result is:

Cortisol 18 << nmol/L (275 - 690)

Is this good? It is obviously extremely low but I have no idea what it actually means.

Anyone got any ideas please?

16 Replies

Barb, you need to speak to your GP, low cortisol is Addison's Disease not Cushings.


Thanks Clutter, it was Cushings the endo wanted tested for.

I cannot get in to see my gp for another fortnight but wanted my results so I could see where they were. I don't like receptionists giving me information about my results, I actually don't think they should be allowed to. They know even less than I do.

I will go away and look up Addisons now. Such fun!

Endo told me the hyperparathyroidism is secondary, I still have to look that up again as I cannot remember what it is about. Brain fog strikes again!


Barb, Receptionists at my practice give results when the GP okays it but if they say they are 'normal' it's because the GP has told them to say so, they wouldn't interpret without GP okay.

It might be an idea to ring your endo or the duty doctor at your surgery if your appointment is two weeks away.


Clutter, I have spent the last hour or so reading up about Addisons. I do have some of the symptoms, but they are also similar to other symptoms such as the ones I have for low B12 and folate. I am at the hospital tomorrow (I volunteer there) so will try and speak to my endo. My gp is not at the surgery tomorrow. It looks like I will be needing more tests though.

I got my first prescription today for Liothyronine and when I took it to the chemist she said she would need to check with the doctor that it was correct. I told her it had been prescribed by my endo but she said she needed to check it was correct because of the dose? (10 mcg in two 5mcg tabs?). I pick it up tomorrow.



Barb, it'd be handy if you could have a word with the endo. Dunno what the pharmacist's problem is, maybe the price of 5mcg Liothyronine? It's imported and 'orribly expensive.


Much cheaper to give you 20 mg tablets and have you split them. Though tbh, its

probably not a great idea to take t3 if your adrenals are in a sorry state....... Could make them worse.

Would be worth getting a cortisol saliva test taken over the course of a day to see exactly where you are with it. About £70 if you get it done privately, or the hospital at. Southampton does them on the Nhs, but I have no idea what your doctor would have to write to get one......

Xx. G



I thought T3 was O.K. to use if you had adrenal problems especially CT3M by Paul Robinson.


Must read that then. At present I will try almost anything to feel better.


Well since I am on my pension I can't afford to do private tests and I live in N/E Scotland so Southampton is out of the question.

I will be trying to get a word with the endo tomorrow.


Well the doc said they only come in 5's and 25's and no way could I cut them up. Haven't got the strength to cut tabs in half even when they have a groove. And doc did look up what he could prescribe before he wrote the script.

No doubt when I want to up the dose and endo says no I will be buying my own anyway, hehe


Interesting, I had a trial of adding T3 to my T4 around 18 months ago and didn't feel well on it, at the time I did not realise how badly my adrenals were functioning and the Endo of course did not even look at this consideration. Last September I had an adrenal crash and have been trying to improve my situation since then. I am intrigued to hear how T3 affects the adrenals?


I'm interested, too. I've been taking T3 for the past 6 months, and recently had a strange 24hr adrenal profile. Wonder if the 2 could be linked.

Reply ......"People whose adrenal glands are also underactive. In prolonged and severe hypothyroidism, the adrenal glands can become less active. When treatment with this medicine is started, the thyroid hormones and hence the body's metabolism increase faster than adrenal glands recover, and as a result the adrenal glands may not produce sufficient levels of natural steroid hormones. In this case, your doctor may need to prescribe you supplemental corticosteroids until the adrenal glands adjust to the new metabolic rate and produce enough natural steroid hormones."

And there is always the excellent advice on Dr Rind.

Dr Rind advocates using a temperature graph to determine if your adrenals or your thyroid are giving you the problems. I treated my adrenals with cortisone for two years until the graph showed a nearly straight line. I kept a log of my temps for most of this And if I can work out how to add a photo I will post the graph....

G x


Thank you G for sending your response, very interesting x


Galathea this is very interesting. I will be printing these links and taking them to my doctor when I go to see her on Wednesday. She may already know this but it is always best to go armed with as much information as possible. :-)

I started my T3 over a week ago but have not really noticed anything yet, but it is quite a small dose (10mcg) and I have been on holiday for the last ten days so perhaps when I get back into my usual routine I might notice if it is making any difference.



Silver I did not take T3 for very long and now I believe my adrenals were malfunctioning long before that so I do not believe the T3 was a cause, but it is strange that I did not feel well when I added the T3 to my T4 when so many praise this combination. What I would like to know is how T3 could affect the adrenals if they are malfunctioning.


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