1. Do I need both tests (blood and urine) or is one better than the other?
If your healthcare provider suspects Cushing syndrome, usually both blood and urine are tested as they offer complementary information. Blood cortisol is easier to collect but is affected more by stress than is the 24-hour urine test. Salivary cortisol may sometimes be tested instead of blood cortisol.
2. How do I tell if a high cortisol level isn't just from stress?
There are several approaches that your healthcare provider can take. The simplest involves repeating tests at a time when you feel less stressed. Your healthcare provider can also give you varying doses of a medicine that replaces cortisol (usually dexamethasone) to see if this decreases your cortisol level. Multiple tests are often needed to tell if stress or disease is causing a high cortisol level.
This article was last reviewed on March 18, 2015. | This article was last modified on April 16, 2015.
The review date indicates when the article was last reviewed from beginning to end to ensure that it reflects the most current science. A review may not require any modifications to the article, so the two dates may not always agree.
The modified date indicates that one or more changes were made to the article. Such changes may or may not result from a full review of the article, so the two dates may not always agree.