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Anxiety might have a physiological cause?


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Hey Guys,

My doctor just called me this afternoon to let me know that they got some strange results on a serum cortisol test that was performed on Monday, and now they are thinking of sending me to an endocrinologist because they are wondering if my anxiety and panic might have some sort of physiological cause.

Has anyone here had problems with elevated cortisol?  The range for the test they did was 90-500 (or roughly 500...I dont have the bloodwork handy) and my 8:30am level (which is when cortisol should peak) was 230) but my 4:45pm level (which is when it should start dropping) was 985!!! I'm not sure what to make of that except maybe it explains why I can't sleep at night!

Anyways, if anyone has any experience with this I would love to hear it.

Thanks,

Kelly

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cortisol is released in response to stress and is linked to the biological clock, but sometimes the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) gets wonky and releases too much or too little, or too much at the wrong time. 

so, if something is wrong with something on that axis causing you to release too much cortisol, it could cause you to feel anxious. 

and yes... elevated night time cortisol would certainly explain why you can't sleep.

a friend of mine is going through the processof figuring out what's going wonky with her HPA axis as some of her adrenal hormones are off. i've had problems with adrenal hormones, and fixing them has definitley helped my mood, though elevated cortisol wasn't my specific problem.

when people talk about really high cortisol levels, they're usually talking about cushings.  but there are other things that can cause high cortisol that aren't cushings, so don't get worried about that.

i hope you get good answers from the endo.  fixing hormone inbalances can do a LOT for mood.  (just like thyroid can mess with mood, the other hormones can also really mess with mood.)

good luck

penny

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Heya GreenGal,

Makes me think of yeah, hormonal imbalances.

Cushings or other, endos have a lot of weird stuff, like the rheums.

Which is why loser FPs like me consult them all the time.  ;)

If you have a problem with cortisol, it affects other hormones.

Including those affecting moods.

My Big Books are all at home.

But.

Take this as a good sign, really -- if it's something that can be explained and helped by blood tests/medication, well, it's simpler.  Simple is good too.

(And, looks better -- okay, so I'm cynical -- to insurance companies.  They *like* blood tests.)

--ncc--

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I saw my doctor today and he is going to do additional testing and refer me to an endocrinologist to examine my cortisol levels.  They are concerned about potential "estrogen dominance" in that maybe my estrogen levels are too high and that is what is pushing my cortisol levels up.  At least it's a start.  So I had a bunch of hormone testing done today and now I just have to wait for the referral which he said he'd try and get done for sometime this month (fingers crossed).  It's weird though, because no matter what they find it's going to be very hard to determine whether the cortisol is causing the panic/anxiety or the other way around.  And in my opinion, it's really important to know which is which ;) Here's hoping I get sent to a good endocrinologist.

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are we talking about the same cortisol that inhibits muscle growth?.... or is this "cortisol" pointing more to the CNS system?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I'm sorry, I'm not really sure of the answer...it's the cortisol that is considered the "stress hormone" ... it's secreted by the adrenal glands? Hope that helps.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey Guys,

My doctor just called me this afternoon to let me know that they got some strange results on a serum cortisol test that was performed on Monday, and now they are thinking of sending me to an endocrinologist because they are wondering if my anxiety and panic might have some sort of physiological cause.

Has anyone here had problems with elevated cortisol?  The range for the test they did was 90-500 (or roughly 500...I dont have the bloodwork handy) and my 8:30am level (which is when cortisol should peak) was 230) but my 4:45pm level (which is when it should start dropping) was 985!!! I'm not sure what to make of that except maybe it explains why I can't sleep at night!

Anyways, if anyone has any experience with this I would love to hear it.

Thanks,

Kelly

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

YES! It's called ADRENAL FATIGUE and i was recently diagnosed! My panic attacks were spirally out of control. I have them occasionally when pushed into a situation with extreme triggers like small spaces or tons of people pushing but I started having them daily in teh last 2 years. JUST LAST MONTH my doctor recognized teh symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue and put me on a course of 3 suppliments. 1 is a super adrenal vitamin complex, one is a mixture of things your body should normally make but isnt doing it rightb/c of cortisol levels and the third is to reregulate my sleep cycle (this one isnt working so hot but ive ALWAYS had insomnia). Anyways since starting the suppliments my panic attacks have decreased dramatically and I am sleeping better as well as acting more stabil and energized. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get this looked into. I would reccomend treating it with the suppliments as the synthetic treatments have more complications and a smaller sucess rate (based on what ive read)

initially my doctor thought it was estrogen dominance too but after having a saliva test it showed that my progesterone and estrogen levels were in stride with one another.

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