Adrenocorticotropic hormone or ACTH is one of the hormones secreted by the pituitary gland that is located at the back of the brain.
The main function of ACTH is to stimulate the adrenal glands of the kidney to release the two hormones called cortisol and adrenaline. These are also known as epinephrine and they help a person respond to stress. Although the response is done in a healthy way that would support the immune system. Cortisol is known as the steroid hormone that affects many parts and systems of the body like-
metabolism of nutrients like carbohydrates, fats, and protein
The nervous and circulatory systems are maintained by the adrenaline hormone that along with the norepinephrine can help one fight against a stressful situation. It gives a response commonly known as a fight or flight reaction.
The ACTH tests are done to judge the same functions; that is know the functioning of adrenal glands. A synthetic portion of ACTH called cosyntropin is injected during the analysis and 2 blood samples are taken: one before the cosyntropin and one after the injection.
The tests would judge the level of cortisol in blood that would help the doctors at CARE Hospitals to make a fine diagnosis (to know underlying causes) and treatment.
The tests called ACTH stimulation tests can measure the adrenal glands and their reaction with the ACTH in blood and doctors will know the cortisol levels.
Conditions like Addison’s disease (adrenal insufficiency), and hypopituitarism (pituitary not working) can be judged with the help of ACTH Stimulation Tests. The signs and symptoms include;
Sudden weight loss
low blood pressure
loss of appetite
muscle and joint pain
darkening or discolouration of the skin
There are some symptoms that can be encountered if one has the excess secretion of cortisol-
increased facial hair
More body hair
menstrual irregularities in females
low sex drive in men
The malfunctioning of the adrenal glands are judged on the basis of ACTH Stimulation tests and are further diagnosed to get treated.
There are certain risks associated with the test at the time of blood drawn-
inflammation of the vein where the blood was taken out
People may feel mild pain at the site of injection or a throbbing puncture at the site. A small bruise can be observed but can’t leave long-lasting serious effects.
Physical examinations like blood pressure, glucose tests, essentials like fever, pulse rate, chest congestion, and weight examinations are conducted before the final examinations.
These are called preliminary tests after which the blood tests are conducted to check out other medical conditions- liver, kidney and related functions.
After the body conditions, the medical history of the person is known to check for any genetic factor that is affecting their symptoms.
When you are all set and asked for the diagnosis of ACTH Stimulation Tests, you’ll be required to submit a blood sample.
It is taken to measure the blood cortisol levels and is further used as a baseline against which other comparisons would be made. It is conducted twice due to the same reason.
A synthetic portion of ACTH called cosyntropin is given as an injectable to the bloodstream where it would induce adrenal glands to produce cortisol.
An hour is required for the doctor to judge the reaction and further he would take a second blood sample. These would give your cortisol levels in the blood. It is judged by the time the body took to react.
The samples are further tested for their cortisol levels and the results can come up within a week or two.
Your doctor can conduct the insulin-induced hypoglycemia test, along with the imaging tests to confirm a diagnosis.
Doctors will know whether you’re having Addison’s disease or hypopituitarism.
Treatment is further given to correct the hormonal level of steroid hormones.
If the blood cortisol levels are below the range, stimulation is assigned as low.
People may suffer from conditions like an acute adrenal crisis, Addison’s disease, or hypopituitarism.
Although for these testing is mainly advised by the doctors to prescribe a suitable treatment.
Common treatments involve
Hydrocortisone (Cortef), prednisone or methylprednisolone to replace cortisol given in the form of injectable.
Fludrocortisone acetate to replace aldosterone.
Corticosteroids are given in the form of hydrocortisone (Cortef) or prednisone (Rayos). These will replace the adrenal because of an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) deficiency.
Levothyroxine (Levoxyl, Synthroid, others) are given to cure the low thyroid hormone levels.
A periodic CT or MRI scan can be done to know the status of the pituitary tumour (if found in the tests) and would know the other related reasons.
It can involve surgery to remove such growth with the help of radiation treatments.
Why choose CARE Hospitals in India?
CARE Hospitals is one of India’s best multi-specialty hospitals, dedicated to providing incomparable and evidence-based health treatment.
We are a prominent and integrated healthcare institution with many Centers of Excellence for super specialties such as heart surgery, CT surgery, neurology, cancer, liver, multi-organ transplants, bones and joints, nephrology, spine surgery, mother and child, and fertility.
Our hospital is regarded as one of the best hospitals in India due to its modern facilities and services. We have multispecialty hospitals that are well-equipped with fully functional medical beds, an intensive care unit/operation theatre, mobile ultrasound, X-ray, 2D echo, and other critical care services for critically ill patients.
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