Cortisol AM


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Quest Diagnostics Test Code: 4212

Cortisol test is used to diagnose Cushing’s Disease and Addison’s Disease. Cortisol is increased in Cushing’s Disease and decreased in Addison’s Disease (adrenal insufficiency). Normally, the level of cortisol in the blood rises and falls in a “diurnal variation” pattern, maximum early in the morning, then declining throughout the day and reaching its lowest level around midnight.

Cortisol is a hormone that is secreted from the adrenal glands in a diurnal rhythm of secretion, meaning its levels peak around the same time in the morning and decreases as the day progresses. This hormone is plays a big role in multiple important bodily functions, such as in the metabolism of lipids, carbohydrates and proteins, the regulation of blood glucose and blood pressure and well as maintenance and regulation of the immune system. Cortisol tests are used to for the diagnosis of Cushings disease, which is too much cortisol, or Addisons disease, which is too little cortisol. Cortisol can be tested in multiple ways. This test measures cortisol in the morning, when it should be at its highest level.

This test is performed in following conditions such as:

• Hypertension (Cushings)
• High blood sugar
• Obesity
• Purple streaks on the abdomen
• Muscle wasting and weakness
• Osteoporosis
• Weight loss
• Fatigue
• Low blood pressure (Addisons)
• Abdominal pain
• Dark patches of skin


The specimen for this test should be collected between 7-9 a.m This test is not recommended when someone is receiving prednisone/prednisolone therapy due to cross-reactivity with the antibody used in this test.


Specimen Collected
  • Blood
Estimated Time Taken

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