Urinary Free Cortisol
The adrenal gland produces a steroid hormone (glucocorticoid) known as cortisol and the Pituitary gland stimulates the production of this hormone by means of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).
Cortisol plays a very critical role in different processes and systems of the body, ranging from stress response, immunological functions, control of blood pressure, control of blood sugar, regulation of mood, metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, growth of bones, to neurological functions. Urinary free cortisol is a test used to measure the amount of cortisol present in the urine.
Why is the test ordered?
A cortisol test may be prescribed to detect the issues associated with the adrenal or pituitary glands that may cause abnormal hormone production. It may be useful as a screening test forCushing syndrome.
When is the test ordered?
The test may be ordered if an individual experiences symptoms indicative of Cushing’s syndrome owing to high cortisol levels. The symptoms include muscle weakness, weightgain, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, thinning of skin, marks on skin and osteoporosis.
The test may also be prescribed, if the symptoms, such as muscle weakness, weight loss, fatigue, abdominal pain, low blood pressure and dark patches on the skin are indicative of Addison’s disease or adrenal insufficiency owing to low cortisol levels.
How is the sample collected?
A 24-hour urine sample is collected in a sterile container. Strictly follow the instructions given by your doctor, to get accurate results.
How to prepare for the test?
It is suggested to have enough fluids before the test, to prevent dehydration. Also, avoid any heavy workout or physical activity the day before the test. The person taking the test must inform the doctor about all the medicines he or she is taking.