Cortisol is a steroid that is produced in the adrenal gland. It is typically produced as a response to stress. The actions of this steroid are responsible for bringing the body back into its proper shape after a period of stress has been endured. Like most substances that are helpful over a short duration, a prolonged exposure to cortisol produces symptoms that are those experienced by people who undergo extended periods of stress. For such individuals, relaxation techniques are required to reduce cortisol production which will calm the individual down.
Cortisol production is controlled by the brain which secretes a chemical known as Adrenocorticotropic hormone. This hormone stimulates the adrenal gland into action. It is possible for the gland to be unresponsive which can be one of the causes of deficient cortisol production. It is also possible for the hormone secretion to be ineffective in quantity to properly stimulate the gland.
It is possible to conduct a cortisol test at home. This is a test conducted using one’s saliva which is the sample body fluid used to test for cortisol. Cortisol tends to be elevated in the morning and its level diminishes through the day. This is the normal way in which cortisol spreads across the body. In a person suffering from cortisol problems, this sequence or pattern tends to be jumbled and not well defined. The cortisol test at home is conducted with the help of a laboratory test. The sample collection is the only phase of the test that is actually conducted at home. These samples are collected through the day and each sample should be accurately marked depending on time of day of collection. Following all the instructions of the test kit, one can send the samples to the accredited laboratory and have them analyzed for cortisol.
The results of a cortisol test are indicated in the form of a numerical value which is the concentration of cortisol in the saliva. While the test can be conducted at home, it is not advisable for the test results to be analyzed at home. This job should be left to a doctor who is trained to interpret the numbers. The advantage of the home test is that it gives a person confirmation that there is something abnormal which can then be used as a reason to visit a doctor. A cortisol test at home is much less accurate than one conducted in a clinical environment on the blood or urine.More articles from the Medical Tests Category