Result of the Test
Abnormal levels of cortisol in the body may indicate several conditions. If the level of cortisol is higher than normal, this frequently suggests Cushing syndrome, some types of cancer, adrenal tumor, or an ectopic ACTH-producing tumor. Cushing syndrome may be caused by depression, obesity, hyperthyroidism, liver disease or kidney disease. If the level is lower than normal, this often suggests Addison's disease and hypopituitarism.
Symptoms of Cushing syndrome include high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, round reddish face, fatigue, presence of pads of fat in the chest and the upper back, diabetes, emotional changes and easy bruising. Addison's disease is a disorder that causes fatigue, muscle pains and weakness, joint pains, weight loss, sweating, anxiety, dizziness, and changes in mood and personality. Some patients may also experience sudden drops in blood pressure when standing up from a seated position.
Several factors can affect the result of the test. These include stress, undergoing radioactive scan a week before the test, hypoglycemia, medication, pregnancy, and eating or exercising before having the test conducted.