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High Cortisol

By June 14, 2012 - 12:02pm
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I am 50 years old and recently found out tht I have high cortisol and over 3 testing periods it has come down from the high 500's to mid 350 range. My DHEA is also high. I went to a new Dr and he has requested a 24 hour urine and a blood panel. I am always fatigued and sleep poorly in addition to mid section weight gain 5"7 155 lbs. I am post menpausal, two and a half years since my last period.
The weirdest sensation that I am experiencing is that I feel like I have caffeine running through my veins and by brain pulsing. Up until now , I have been healthy. What questions should I be asking my DR? I don't have deep pockets and need to find some relief and restore my energy levels and sleep.

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A MRI is more definitive but insurance companies will pay for a CT scan, which costs much less than a MRI. Thus, a request for a MRI will be denied.

An evaluation by an endocrinologist is a good move.

I hope a diagnosis is made so that you can get the proper treatment.


July 2, 2012 - 4:57pm
(reply to Maryann Gromisch RN)

Hi After 3rd round of full panel. DHEA sulfate is till high. Cortisol is considered normal. At this point I am willing to pull out all the stops and try HRT most likely the lowest dosage of bio identical to suit my body and try for 6 months. Meeting with my Gyn in the next month. At 51 I am hoping to have a good quality of life for the next 20 , 30, 40 or 50 years I have to live(God willing). I need sleep and energy. I am thankful for your website. There are few Doctors that understand what females in this country are going through.

September 26, 2012 - 3:53pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Maryann Gromisch RN)

Hi CT scan came back "clean" no signs of any tumors etc. My Dr has now referred me to an endocrinologist that he has been consulting with. I am clueless about what questions I should be asking and want to make the most of my visit. They are booking two month out. I will continue to read up, but is there anything i should be asking? While high DHEA does not't seem to be life threatening, I am feeling that it impacting as it affects energy levels and normal functioning. Any ideas to lower or how to deal with it? I am thankful I am not in pain and send prayers to those who are.

July 16, 2012 - 8:54am

My Dr(internist) has since done a 24 hour urine test and a blood panel. Looks to him like everything is in check except DHEA is still high at 550 is and he has suggested a CAT scan of my adrenal glands to see if there is anything there,Is there anything else I should be asking? He said if he does not see anything of concern he is going to send me for further consultation with an Endo that he has been speaking with about my case. Would an MRI be more definitive? Why would you do one over the other? I am so tired of being tired.

June 30, 2012 - 10:28am


Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is produced by the adrenal gland. It affects many different body systems, including the circulatory system, immune system, bone, nervous system, the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and protein, and in our stress responses.

A high level of cortisol in the blood can indicate Cushing's syndrome, which is a disorder caused by overactive adrenal glands, or an adrenal tumor. Stress, obesity, hyperthyroidism, severe liver or kidney disease can elevate cortisol levels in the body.

During your doctor's appointment, mention the sensations that you are experiencing. Ask what is the cause of your elevated cortisol levels. Ask any question you may have about further testing. Ask what is the planned treatment. Make a list before your appointment and write down the answers you receive.

Wishing you well,


June 14, 2012 - 4:20pm
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