announcement

Help someone with useful health advice.

Low Cortisol Treatment

Low Cortisol Treatment

Cortisol is a naturally occurring hormone in our body. The following article elaborates on ways to treat patients with low cortisol.
Nicks J
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018
Did You Know?
Low cortisol levels have been linked to Addison's disease, a condition that damages the adrenal gland. Tuberculosis patients are at increased risk of suffering from this medical condition.
Out of the many steroid hormones found in the body, one of them is cortisol. The hormone is released by the adrenal glands to combat stress effectively. Cortisol is also involved in regulating blood pressure and ensures proper breakdown of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. It maintains blood sugar and monitors the metabolism of sugar into energy. Muscle weakness, nausea, low BP, dizziness, skin disorders such as hyperpigmentation in certain areas of the skin and reduced blood sugar are some of the common symptoms associated with cortisol deficiency.
Treatment
Inadequate production of cortisol in the body is corrected by supplying the hormone through external sources. There are certain oral medications that contain synthetically prepared cortisol. Taking them in the right dosage helps to restore healthy cortisol levels. Cortisol belongs to the group of steroid hormone known as glucocorticoid. So, to overcome adrenal inefficiency, doctor often prescribe any one of the glucocorticoid supplements given below:
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Prednisone
  • Dexamethasone
Daily dosage of glucocorticoid supplements will be decided after evaluating the severity of cortisol deficiency. A cortisol test is a diagnostic tool used to determine the amount of hormone levels in the body. A sample of blood, urine or sometimes even saliva is collected and the prerequisite test is performed to check for imbalance in cortisol levels. After studying the results of cortisol test, the doctor will recommend the glucocorticoid supplement dosage.
Low cortisol resulting from adrenal crisis is a case of urgent medical treatment. This is because the condition is marked by rapid onset of progressive depletion of cortisol level. The sudden sharp fall in cortisol levels can cause severe diarrhea, frequent bouts of vomiting and even kidney failure. If immediate treatment is ignored, it can be fatal. So, in such cases, administering adrenal hormone injection at the earliest would help to prevent health from declining.
Cortisol like compounds such as hydrocortisone are prescribed in the dosage ranging from 15 mg and 25 mg. Whatever may be the dosage, it is split over 2-3 doses for maximum relief. The aim is to maintain cortisol levels throughout the day. Forgetting to take the medicine or an overdose can cause fluctuations in cortisone levels, which may be detrimental to your health. The patient's age, gender and weight are taken into consideration when deciding the dosage. Usually, the dosage given in the morning is more than what is prescribed in the evening.
Caution
  • Excessive use of corticosteroids like prednisone for long periods of time is one of primary contributory factors in the development of avascular necrosis, a condition that typically causes pain in the hip, shoulder, knee or elbow joint.
  • If left untreated, avascular necrosis can lead to arthritis.
  • In avascular necrosis, the affected bone receives poor blood circulation. This drastic reduction in blood supply eventually leads to death of the bone, subsequently causing joint deterioration and arthritis.
  • There are speculations that due to too much intake of corticosteroid drugs, our body finds it's difficult to metabolize fatty substances. These partially broken down substances stick to the walls of the blood vessels, making them narrower. As the width of the blood vessels reduces, so does the blood flow to the bone. Therefore it is advised to use corticosteroids strictly under medical supervision that too for a short duration of time.
Depending upon the underlying cause, patients with low cortisol will be required to take additional supplements. Cortisol deficiency resulting from Addison's disease is treated with additional supplements as they also suffer from low mineralocorticoid (a steroid hormone).
On the whole, if the person experiences the aforementioned cortisol deficiency symptoms persistently, it is necessary to undergo a medical check up. Neglecting low cortisol treatment increases the risk of adrenal crisis, which is life-threatening. So, one must not ignore symptoms of low cortisol, and take the necessary treatment as instructed by the doctor.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.