What is Considered a High Cortisol Level?

Cortisol is a hormone your body makes. It helps you respond to stress, wake up in the morning, and control your blood sugar. Knowing your cortisol level is important because too much can lead to health problems. 

This article explains cortisol, how to measure its levels, what counts as a high level, and what you can do if your levels are too high.

Table of Contents

Understanding Cortisol

Cortisol is a hormone made by your adrenal glands, which sit on top of your kidneys. This hormone is key in helping you handle stress, managing how your body uses carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and keeping your sleep-wake cycle in check. Your body’s cortisol levels change throughout the day. They are usually higher in the morning when you wake up and gradually decrease by the end of the day.

Several factors can affect how much cortisol your body makes. Stress is a major one. When you’re stressed, your body releases more cortisol. Other factors include infection, injury, and certain health conditions. It’s normal for cortisol levels to go up and down, but consistently high levels can be a sign of health issues.

How to Measure Cortisol Levels

To find out how much cortisol you have, doctors can use different tests. They might take a sample of your blood, saliva, or urine. These tests can show how much cortisol is in your body at a certain time.

The timing of the test is important because cortisol levels change throughout the day. A blood test is often done in the morning when cortisol levels are highest. Saliva and urine tests can track changes in cortisol over the day or night.

Normal cortisol levels depend on the time of day and the test used. For example, morning cortisol levels in the blood are usually higher compared to the evening. Doctors look at test results and consider the time of day to decide if cortisol levels are normal, low, or high.

What is Considered a High Cortisol Level?

High cortisol levels mean there is more of this hormone in your body than usual. The exact number that counts as high can vary depending on your test. For a blood test in the morning, doctors might say cortisol is too high if it’s above a certain level, which can differ by lab.

Having one test show high cortisol isn’t enough to say for sure there’s a problem. Your doctor might ask for more tests at different times. This helps them see if the level stays high or returns to normal.

High cortisol levels over time can indicate that your body is under a lot of stress, or you might have a health condition that needs to be checked by a doctor.

Causes and Symptoms of High Cortisol Levels

what is considered a high cortisol level

High cortisol levels can happen for many reasons. Stress is a common cause. When you feel stressed for a long time, your body releases cortisol. Other reasons include health problems like Cushing’s syndrome, which happens when your body makes too much cortisol, or taking medicines like steroids that can increase cortisol.

Symptoms of high cortisol can vary. You might feel very tired but have trouble sleeping. You could gain weight, especially around your stomach, face, and neck. Your skin might get thinner and bruise easily, and you could see more acne. High cortisol can also make you feel more anxious or depressed and can make it hard for your body to fight off infections.

If you notice these symptoms, it’s important to talk to a doctor. They can check your cortisol levels and find out what’s causing them to be high.

Implications of High Cortisol Levels

Having too much cortisol for a long time can lead to several health issues. It can increase your blood pressure, and your body may have a hard time controlling sugar levels, which increases the risk of diabetes. 

High cortisol can also weaken your bones, making them easier to break, and it can slow down how fast you heal from injuries.

Your muscles might get weaker, especially in your legs and arms. Too much cortisol can also change how fat is distributed in your body, leading to more fat around your midsection and less fat in your arms and legs. This can also increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Mentally, high cortisol can make it hard to focus, cause mood swings, and make you feel anxious or depressed. It’s important to manage high cortisol levels to avoid these health problems. If you think you have high cortisol, seeing a doctor can help you get started on finding out why and deciding on the best way to treat it.

How to Manage and Treat High Cortisol Levels

If you have high cortisol levels, there are ways to manage or treat it. Changing your lifestyle and taking supplements can help reduce stress and lower cortisol. This includes getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and doing activities that relax you, like walking, yoga, or meditation.

If a health condition like Cushing’s syndrome is causing high cortisol, your doctor might suggest medicine or surgery to treat it. For those taking steroid medicines that increase cortisol, doctors may adjust the dose or change the medication.

Talking to a healthcare professional is important. They can suggest the best ways to manage high cortisol based on what’s causing it. Sometimes, this might mean seeing a specialist who knows a lot about hormonal health issues.

Managing high cortisol levels is key to keeping your body healthy and avoiding long-term problems. If you’re worried about your cortisol levels, don’t wait to get help. Talking to a doctor can give you the information and support you need to care for your health.

Achieve Balance and Vitality With CortiSync!

Cortisol plays a critical role in our body’s response to stress, energy management, and immune system regulation. Balancing cortisol levels is essential for overall health, as imbalances can lead to various health issues. 

If you seek additional support in managing your cortisol levels, PrimeGENIX CortiSync offers the best solution. This product is designed to naturally optimize cortisol levels, support your body’s ability to manage stress more effectively, and maintain balance. 

By incorporating CortiSync into your daily routine, alongside healthy lifestyle choices, you can enhance your body’s resilience to stress, support metabolic health, and promote better well-being.

Take proactive steps to manage your cortisol levels by buying the best and most effective cortisol supplement today! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What number is too high for cortisol?

The number considered too high for cortisol depends on the test and the time it’s taken. Generally, cortisol levels above 18-23 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL) may be considered high for a blood test in the morning. However, this can vary based on the lab’s specific reference ranges.

What is abnormally high cortisol?

Abnormally high cortisol means the hormone levels in your body are above the normal range for the test you’ve taken. This can indicate your body is under too much stress or there’s a health issue affecting your adrenal glands or cortisol production.

When should I worry about cortisol levels?

You should be concerned about your cortisol levels if you’re experiencing symptoms of high cortisol, such as significant weight gain, especially in the face and abdomen, high blood pressure, muscle weakness, and mood changes. If you notice these signs, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for evaluation and testing.

What is a concerning cortisol level?

A concerning cortisol level is one that significantly exceeds the normal range established by testing guidelines, especially if high levels are consistent across multiple tests. Concerning levels are those that persistently fall above the upper limit of normal, indicating potential health issues that need medical attention.

About Eric Barnett

Avatar photoEric is a personal trainer and avid outdoor enthusiast who strives to always be on the forefront of health innovation. A father of two who recognized early on that as he aged, he needed to keep his body and nutrition in check to keep living life to the fullest.

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