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Cortisol AM & PM Blood Test

Sample Report
Specimen Type: Blood


Cortisol AM & PM Blood Test

This test is used to measure Cortisol levels in the blood.  The AM & PM test uses two blood collections to measure Cortisol levels at different times of the day.  Cortisol testing is usually ordered to aid in the diagnosis of conditions related to the adrenal and pituitary glands such as Addison's Disease, Cushing's Syndrome, Adrenocortical Insufficiency or Hypersecretion.      

Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands.  Proper Cortisol levels are important for helping the body to maintain a number of functions such as blood pressure, glucose levels, immune response, and stress management.  Cortisol testing is often ordered with an ACTH test to help evaluate adrenal and pituitary functions. 

Symptoms which may indicate irregular Cortisol levels include:

  • Unusually high or low blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • Obesity
  • Fragile skin
  • Purple streaks on the abdomen
  • Muscle wasting and weakness
  • Osteoporosis
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue 
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark patches of skin

Cortisol levels typically start out high in the morning and drop in the evening.  By using two blood collections which look at Cortisol levels when they are normally at their high and low points, this test can help to determine if a person’s Cortisol levels are fluctuating normally throughout the day.  This test can be more accurate than a single blood collection in helping to diagnose conditions which cause irregularities in Cortisol production.  Conditions such as pregnancy, elevated stress levels, certain medications and hormone therapy can all affect Cortisol levels.  It is important to take these into account when results are interpreted. 

The AM blood collection should be done between 7am and 9am.  The PM collection should be done between 3pm and 5pm.  

Turnaround time for the Cortisol AM & PM test is typically 2-3 business days.        

Note: Result turn around times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. Our reference lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.


People ordering this test on a Doctor's recommendation should be aware of any medications they are taking which may affect Cortisol levels.  People undergoing Biotin therapy should wait at least 8 hours after their last dose before being collected.



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