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Although the normal range may vary slightly from one lab to another, the normal range for morning cortisol is usually about 7-28 mcg/dl and the normal range for pm cortisol is about 2-18 mcg/dl.
The primary concern when the cortisol level is elevated is Cushing syndrome, in which the adrenals are overactive. However, since cortisol is also a generic stress hormone, the diagnosis is usually not made based solely on cortisol levels. The usual next step would be to perform a dexamethasone suppression test to see if the cortisol levels will decrease after provision of a medicinal steroid.
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