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Low Cortisol

I have just been phoned by the receptionist at my GP surgery to say my blood test for morning cortisol came back as less than 25nmol/L and that the GP didn’t know what that means. A quick Google search suggested I should be unconscious in an adrenal insufficiency crisis. It’s too late for me to phone the Asthma Clinic at the hospital but it’s going drive me nuts worrying about it all night. Does anyone else have any experience in this? The asthma clinic ordered the cortisol test because I’ve been reducing my prednisone (been on high daily doses for about a year) and have just got down to 5mg daily. Any help greatly appreciated. Thanks

  1. Hi , and thanks for your post.

    As you may be aware, we cannot provide medical advice or diagnostics over the internet (for your own safety), but your concern certainly warrants a reply.

    In the most general of terms, it is not proper for a 'receptionist' to be calling patients with lab results, especially if they are considered to be dramatically abnormal - and also tell you the physician does not know what to do!

    In the most general of terms, my first inclination (especially if you feel the way you normally feel as you wean down on steroids), is there is an error in the communication or there is a lab error of some kind. Cortisol levels can be reported in various units of measurement. If, instead of nmol/L, the units were mcg/dL, your results might be interpreted entirely differently.

    This is a puzzling predicament and one you should not be in at all.

    You may want to give some consideration to reaching out for some medical advice/guidance. Perhaps you'd want to call your medical doctor, or visit the ER, or call the hospital where the clinic is with your history, or even the clinical laboratory to make certain of the result that was told to you. This may help to alleviate your concerns about 'worrying through the night'.

    Ultimately the decision is yours as to how to move forward. My heart goes out to you as I know how you are feeling about this. Your post is from just about 1/2 hour ago - so there may still be time for your to contact someone for assistance. That would seem to be the most prudent way to proceed.

    What do you think?

    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator asthma.net)

    1. Thanks. Clinic called me today. They said it is a legitimate test result. I’ve been told to stop reducing my prednisone and have been given a referral to the endocrine clinic. Apparently I’ll be given an emergency steroid injection as well - ho hum what fun! 😆
      Thanks for your support Leon

    2. Hi again, , and thanks for following up here with the results and plan of treatment. I'm glad to hear you were able to get through the night and also then followed up with the clinic and subsequent referral and injection for treatment.

      Please do keep us posted as to your progress - I was concerned for you following the report of the laboratory value.

      Warm regards,
      Leon (site moderator asthma.net)

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