ACTH - Plasma

ACTH - Plasma

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Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH, also adrenocorticotropin, corticotropin) is a hormone produced in the anterior pituitary gland that stimulates the adrenal glands to release cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and aldosterone.

What is Adrenal Corticotropic Hormone (ACTH)?

Adrenocorticotropic hormone is a hormone secreted in the anterior (front) pituitary gland in your brain.

The role of ACTH is to maintain appropriate levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is released by the adrenal glands. Cortisol is our body’s natural alarm system. As our body’s primary stress hormone, it works with different parts of the brain to influence our fear, mood, and motivation (13).

Cortisol is best known for fueling the body’s “fight-or-flight” response in a crisis. But, cortisol also has a critical role in a variety of things the body does, like (13):

  • Controlling the sleeping and waking cycle
  • Boosting energy levels to better handle stress (and restore normal levels afterward)
  • Influences how the body uses carbs, proteins, and fats
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Regulating blood pressure
  • Increasing blood sugar

What Are the Symptoms of High or Low ACTH Induced Cortisol?

Symptoms of high cortisol can include; high blood pressure, obesity, high blood sugar levels, and edema. Low cortisol levels can cause weight loss, fatigue, low blood pressure, and muscle weakness.

What is the ACTH Test?

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of a cortisol imbalance, your doctor may order an ACTH test to measure the levels of both ACTH and cortisol in the blood . The ACTH test will help your doctor detect the diseases that are associated with too much or too little cortisol in the body. Your doctor might also perform a physical examination before making a firm diagnosis.


More information: Aldosterone, Renin and ACTH


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  1. Go to the "Find a Location" page to find the closest lab location. No need to make an appointment since walk-ins are welcomed. Once you have identified your closest location, go to step 2.

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  6. You will receive an order confirmation and instructions email on how to download your lab request.

  7. Print lab request form that you downloaded.

  8. Take that form to the closest location. Get your blood drawn.

  9. You will receive an email when the results are ready for you to download.

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