ACTH-Adreno Corticotrophic Hormone test

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Know more about ACTH-Adreno Corticotrophic Hormone test

A test to measure ACTH is done to check for: A problem with the adrenal glands or pituitary gland. A high level of ACTH and a low level of cortisol (or low ACTH and high cortisol levels) could be caused by a problem with the adrenal glands. Low levels of ACTH and cortisol could be caused by a problem with the pituitary gland. Overproduction of ACTH. This may be caused by an overactive pituitary gland, or sometimes by a tumor in the lung. In response, the adrenal glands release too much cortisol (one form of Cushing's syndrome).

If you have a high cortisol level, you may have: 

obesity, a rounded face, fragile, thin skin, purple lines on the abdomen, weak muscles, acne

an increased amount of body hair

high blood pressure, low potassium levels, high bicarbonate level, high glucose levels, diabetes. 

The symptoms of low cortisol include: 

weak muscles, fatigue, weight loss, increased skin pigmentation in areas not exposed to the sun

a loss of appetite, low blood pressure, low blood glucose levels

ACTH level is measured in this test. A high level of ACTH may be a sign of: 

Addison’s disease adrenal hyperplasia

Cushing’s disease an ectopic tumor that produces ACTH adrenoleukodystrophy, which is very rare Nelson’s syndrome, which is very rare. A low level of ACTH may be a sign of: 

adrenal tumor

exogenous Cushing’s syndrome

hypopituitarism

Blood tests are normally well-tolerated. Some people have smaller or larger veins, which may make taking a blood sample more difficult. However, risks associated with blood tests like the ACTH hormone test are rare. Uncommon risks of having blood drawn include: excessive bleeding lightheadedness or fainting hematoma, or blood pooling under the skin infection at the site

All treatment for Addison's disease involves hormone replacement therapy to correct the levels of steroid hormones your body isn't producing. Some options for treatment include: 

 

Oral corticosteroids. Hydrocortisone (Cortef), prednisone or cortisone acetate may be used to replace cortisol. Your doctor may prescribe fludrocortisone to replace aldosterone. 

Corticosteroid injections. If you're ill with vomiting and can't retain oral medications, injections may be needed.

Test Method 1 : Your doctor may advise you not to take any steroid drugs before your test. These can affect the accuracy of the results. The test is usually done first thing in the morning. ACTH levels are highest when you’ve just woken up. Your doctor will probably schedule your test for very early in the morning. 

 

ACTH levels are tested using a blood sample. A blood sample is taken by drawing blood from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow. Giving a blood sample involves the following steps: 

 

A healthcare provider first cleans the site with an antiseptic to kill germs. 

Then, they’ll wrap an elastic band around your arm. This causes the vein to swell with blood. 

They’ll gently insert a needle syringe into your vein and collect your blood in the syringe tube. 

When the tube is full, the needle is removed. The elastic band is then removed, and the puncture site is covered with sterile gauze to stop the bleeding. 

Report available : The TAT for this test is around 24 hours.

 

If you have a high cortisol level, you may have: 

obesity, a rounded face, fragile, thin skin, purple lines on the abdomen, weak muscles, acne

an increased amount of body hair

high blood pressure, low potassium levels, high bicarbonate level, high glucose levels, diabetes. 

The symptoms of low cortisol include: 

weak muscles, fatigue, weight loss, increased skin pigmentation in areas not exposed to the sun

a loss of appetite, low blood pressure, low blood glucose levels. A person with these symptoms should get this test done.