Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)

What are the indications for the examination?

Such an analysis is prescribed only by the attending physician, based on individual objective indicators.
Most often, such an examination is carried out in conjunction with determining cortisol levels. There are cases when it is necessary to conduct an additional examination that determines other tropic hormones. An analysis for atkg is prescribed by a specialist in the following cases:

  • a person suffers from a constant feeling of fatigue, he quickly gets tired even without significant stress;
  • Even light physical activity cannot be carried out by a person;
  • blood pressure is high or low;
  • a person is undergoing glucocorticosteroid therapy and such therapy is long-term;
  • blood sugar levels are high;
  • cholesterol levels in the blood are increased;
  • there is a pituitary adenoma.

If women have such symptoms, an ATKG test must be taken, as many important functions of the human body depend on this as quickly as possible. If you undergo the examination on time, treatment will be started in a timely manner, which will not allow the pathology to actively develop, and this can lead to the most serious negative consequences. The test with actg should be carried out after preliminary preparation.

Why is an ACTH test prescribed?

Indications for prescribing an ACTH test are:

  • adrenal hyperplasia;
  • adrenal adenomas;
  • adrenal insufficiency – differential diagnosis of primary and secondary insufficiency;
  • increased blood pressure;
  • excessive skin pigmentation, general or in individual areas;
  • suspicion of Itsenko-Cushing syndrome or disease;
  • early puberty;
  • signs of hormonal disorders - acne in adults, excess hair on the face and body;
  • weakness of bone tissue - osteoporosis, frequent or pathological fractures;
  • chronic fatigue syndrome;
  • monitoring the effectiveness of treatment after removal of a pituitary or adrenal tumor;
  • long-term use of glucocorticoids.

When cortisol is high

Cortisol will be elevated in the following cases:

  • adrenal tumors;
  • ovarian cysts and tumors;
  • thyroid hypofunction;
  • completeness;
  • mental affective disorders;
  • HIV;
  • constant hyperglycemia;
  • cirrhosis of the liver;
  • hypercortisolism and adrenal tumors;
  • Itsenko-Cushing's disease;
  • disorders of the pituitary gland and low production of ACTH.

Also, taking certain medications can increase hydrocortisone levels (they will be discussed below).

There is also an indirect or functional increase in cortisol. This includes:

  • pregnancy period;
  • GV;
  • puberty;
  • mental disorders;
  • MS;
  • alcoholism.

Drugs that increase cortisol:

  • Corticotropin;
  • amphetamines;
  • HRT;
  • oxytocin;
  • interferons;
  • naloxone;
  • cerucal;
  • atropine.

Reasons for increased ACTH

  1. Addison's disease. - damage to the adrenal glands, as a result of an autoimmune process or tuberculosis, leads to chronic cortisol deficiency. ACTH is increased 2-2.5 times.
  2. Itsenko-Cushing's disease - with a pituitary adenoma, an excess of ACTH and glucocorticoids occurs. ACTH is increased up to 2 times.
  3. Adrenal cortex insufficiency. The disease is accompanied by loss of hormonal function of the adrenal glands. Cortisol is low, ACTH is increased 2-2.5 times.
  4. Adrenal virilism. In addition to cortisol, the adrenal cortex synthesizes a large amount of male sex hormones. ACTH is increased 2 times or more.
  5. ACTH increases in stressful situations for the body: pregnancy, fear, emotions, trauma, surgery, bleeding, hypothermia, burns, etc.

Elevated ACTH levels can be determined by the following signs: a change in the patient’s appearance, the formation of a menopausal hump, thinning of the limbs, redness of the face, the appearance of severe acne, stretch marks on the abdomen or thighs, spider veins, increased heart rate, chest pain and other symptoms, associated with the dysfunction of this important system, the leaching of calcium from bone tissue, to which the body reacts with increased bone fragility and frequent fractures, and an increase in the amount of male sex hormones. If ACTH is elevated in a child, then a change in sexual development is observed - in girls it is manifested by reduced growth of the mammary glands, a decrease in the size of the labia, an increase in the size of the clitoris, hair growth in the armpits and pubis, and accelerated growth.

In turn, the ACTH norm in women may not be observed in some conditions. This happens, for example, with pituitary tumors. ACTH levels in children are usually constant, but in some cases (for example, with the development of the same tumors) they may experience unfavorable processes in the body.

How to deal with deviations

Most often, doctors, trying to normalize the corticotropin level, perform surgery to remove a benign adenoma. If the operation is successful, the level of cortisol in the blood of women is reduced to a minimum. This indicator can persist for many months and even years, because the hypothalamus and pituitary gland inhibit the restoration of corticotropin secretion.

Typically, patients feel weakness in their muscles and begin to lose weight. Sometimes corticotropin levels can be elevated to 280 units and do not decrease even with dexamethasone. In the case when the production of corticotropin is carried out by neoplasms characterized by a sluggishly progressive course, patients note the symptoms of Cushing's syndrome.

After surgery on the pituitary gland, patients should be prescribed high doses of glucocorticoids. This is necessary in order to normalize the functioning of the adrenal cortex. People suffering from pituitary adenoma or hypothalamic pathology should be under the supervision of doctors. The complete activity of the pituitary system is subject to observation.

Thus, adrenocorticotropic hormone is an important element necessary for the normal functioning of the body, in particular the adrenal glands. Therefore, a blood test for ACTH allows you to assess your health status. Thanks to it, you can detect various diseases that develop in women’s bodies. The sooner they are identified, the better the prognosis for recovery.


  1. Golbin A.Ts. Pathological sleep in children. – L. – 1997. – 248 p.
  2. Ivannikov V.A. Psychological mechanisms of volitional behavior. – M., 1991.
  3. Romanova, E. A. Metabolic diseases. Effective methods of treatment and prevention / E.A. Romanova. - M.: AST, VKT, 2009. - 128 p.
  4. Guide to endocrinology. — M.: Medicine, 2020. — 506 p.
  5. Gremling S. Workshop on stress management / S. Gremling, S. Auerbach. – St. Petersburg, 2002, p. 37–44.
  6. Popova, Yulia Female hormonal diseases. The most effective treatment methods / Yulia Popova. - M.: Krylov, 2020. - 160 p.
  7. Vitkin J. Man and stress. / J. Witkin. – St. Petersburg, 1995.

Effects of ACTH

ACTH stimulates the formation of hormones in the adrenal glands:

  • glucocortidoids - cortisol
  • mineralocorticoids - aldosterone (indirectly)
  • androgen precursors - dihydroepiandrostenedione and androstenedione (indirectly)

Directly activates the first stage of steroid synthesis - the conversion of cholesterol under the action of the enzyme cholesterol esterase into pregnenolone. Has a slight effect on the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates, leading to a decrease in blood glucose levels.

When cortisol levels in the blood increase, ACTH secretion decreases. This is how the negative feedback mechanism in hormonal regulation manifests itself. The maximum concentration of ACTH in the blood is in the morning (6-8 a.m., minimum at 10 p.m.

DETAILS: What are the symptoms of internal bleeding?

When should women take a blood test for hormones?

The level of a significant part of hormones in the female body is subject to cyclical changes. These hormones with an intact menstrual cycle must be taken on strictly defined days, otherwise the information content of such tests will be questionable. Some hormones are not subject to or practically not subject to cyclic changes, so you can donate blood to determine their levels on any day of the menstrual cycle, including during menstruation.

Diseases of the thyroid gland often cause a disturbance in its function, either increasing (thyrotoxicosis) or weakening (hypothyroidism). In order to determine how the thyroid gland works, it is necessary to take the following hormones:

  • thyrotropin (TSH);
  • free thyroxine (T4);
  • free triiodothyronine (T3).

The parathyroid gland secretes parathyroid hormone (PTH). These hormones are not subject to cyclic fluctuations, so they can be taken on any day of the menstrual cycle (MC) without preparation.

In diseases of the adrenal glands, the level of compounds produced by them may change:

  • aldosterone;
  • cortisol;
  • adrenaline and norepinephrine;
  • testosterone.

Testosterone is a sex hormone, so its level is subject to cyclic fluctuations and should be determined at 5-7 days of MC.

The first day of MC is the first day of bleeding.

The remaining adrenal steroids are characterized by stable production and are given up any day, but there are some nuances in their study. When determining aldosterone levels 4 weeks before the examination, it is necessary to discontinue medications that affect the activity of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (ACE inhibitors, mineralcorticoid receptor antagonists, etc.). Cortisol, as a rule, is determined in functional tests, since the basal level of this hormone is not very informative. Instead of adrenaline and norepinephrine, the metabolites of these steroids are determined - metanephrine and normetanephrine.

Another indicator of the functioning of the adrenal glands is 17-hydroxyprogesterone - it is an intermediate product in the synthesis of steroids. Determining its level is necessary for diagnosing congenital dysfunction of the adrenal cortex; it should be carried out strictly on the 3-4th day of MC.

A change in the synthesis of steroids by the adrenal glands is possible with a decrease/increase in the level of adrenocorticotropin (ACTH). Analysis to determine it is carried out regardless of the MC.

Excessive production of growth hormone (GH) by the pituitary gland leads to the development of acromegaly and gigantism (in children and adolescents).

The level of growth hormone is not subject to cyclical changes.

When planning a pregnancy, the question of the need to study hormonal levels usually does not arise immediately. The reason for determining the state of the endocrine system is infertility, recurrent miscarriage, or the presence of certain pathologies of the reproductive system that can affect the level of certain hormones.

Before planning a pregnancy, the levels of the following hormones are usually examined:

  • estrogens (estradiol level is most important);
  • progesterone;
  • luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FLG) of the pituitary gland;
  • prolactin;
  • anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH).

Estrogens, LH and FSH must be taken in the first phase of the menstrual cycle, namely on days 5-7.

Prolactin is practically not subject to cyclic changes, so it is taken on any day of the MC. Before examining prolactin levels, it is necessary to exclude the use of certain medications (neuroleptics, Cerucal, Loperamide, etc.) and stimulation of the mammary glands (palpation, tight underwear, sexual intercourse).

Progesterone is a corpus luteum steroid, so it must be taken in the second half of the MC. Peak progesterone values ​​are determined 8-10 days after ovulation, thus this period is the most optimal for determining progesterone levels.

You can determine the time of ovulation using special test strips or ultrasound examination (folliculometry).

Anti-Mullerian hormone, which reflects ovarian reserve, is determined most often when entering an IVF program. Despite the fact that the level of this substance is practically not subject to fluctuations, most laboratories recommend taking this type of analysis on the 3-4th day of MC.

Preparation and delivery of ACTH

The material for the study is blood plasma (EDTA).

ACTH levels are greatly affected by stress, sleep and exercise, and pregnancy, so 24 hours before the procedure it is necessary to exclude factors that can distort the test results. This:

  • mental stress;
  • overwork;
  • lifting weights, playing sports;
  • bad habits (alcohol for 24 hours, smoking for 3 hours, toxic drugs, energy drinks);
  • food (12 hours before the procedure), drinks (3-4 hours), water 40 minutes;
  • completely stop taking medications 24 hours before the test (in consultation with your doctor).

In girls, ACTH is prescribed on days 5-7 of the menstrual cycle (except in emergency situations). It is also recommended to donate blood during the basal period (ovulation), when hormone levels reach their peak.

The highest level of adrenocorticotropic hormone is observed at 6-8 hours, so the test is done in the morning. Additionally, blood can be taken for analysis from 18.00 to 23.00 (for example, when diagnosing Cushing's syndrome). To track progress, it is important that all blood draws are performed at the same time.

  • Description of the analysis on the website of the Invitro and Helix laboratory.
  • Nazarenko G.I. Clinical assessment of laboratory research results / G.I. Nazarenko, A.A. Kishkun – M.: Medicine, 2006 – 543 p.
  • Wilson DD McGraw-Hill Manual of laboratory & diagnostic tests / DD Wilson; 1 ed. – McGraw-Hill Professional, 2007. – 608 pp.

Important! All materials are for reference purposes only and are in no way an alternative to face-to-face consultation with a specialist.

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The test can be performed on an outpatient basis or in a hospital setting. No special preparation is needed. The peculiarity of the test is that it can be performed on any day of the menstrual cycle. The day before the procedure, the following are completely cancelled: sleeping pills and anticonvulsants; rifampicin. COCs are discontinued 1.5 months before the test. At 11 pm the patient drinks 1 mg of Dexamethasone (2 tablets). At 8:00 a.m., his blood is drawn to determine his cortisol levels.

What does this analysis show? Dexamethasone should reduce ACTH production. Normally, after the test, morning cortisol should not be higher than 50 nmol/l and ACTH too. This is considered a positive result. Numbers above this are negative and indicate hypercortisolism. But to establish its nature, a large sample is required. With it, the dose of Dexamethasone is 8 mg (16 tablets). It should reduce ACTH and cortisol. But with a pituitary adenoma and autonomous production of cortisol, this does not happen. This is a differential diagnosis of pituitary adenoma from other organic pathologies. The test-tested result is interpreted only by an endocrinologist.

Corticotropin releasing hormone test

In rare cases, ACTH can be produced not only by the pituitary gland, but also by a malignant tumor in any organ. Tests show high levels of ACTH and cortisol. To diagnose the pathology, a test with corticotropin-releasing hormone is prescribed. After it, the ACTH level either increases (indicating Itsenko-Cushing's disease) or remains at the same level (ectopic production syndrome).

To carry out the test, venous blood is taken in the morning on an empty stomach and ACTH is measured. Then 100 mcg of corticotropin-releasing hormone is injected into a vein and blood is drawn after 30, 45 minutes and 1 hour, determining the ACTH level for each time.

Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate DHA-S DHEA-S

DHA-S (DHEA-S) is a male sex hormone synthesized in the adrenal cortex. Determined to diagnose the origin of hyperandrogenism (excess of male sex hormones) in women.

Preparation for DHA-S analysis

: On the eve of the study, it is necessary to exclude medications that affect the level of DHEA-S in plasma, physical activity, smoking, administration and intake of glucose.

In newborns, especially premature infants, the concentration of DHEA-S in plasma is increased, then sharply decreases during the first week of life. Several years before puberty and during this period, the plasma concentration of DHEA-S increases. Further, with age, there is a progressive decline in DHEA-S in men and women. No specific circadian rhythm has been identified for this hormone. During pregnancy, its concentration in plasma decreases.

Alcoholism, taking 75 g of glucose, and severe illnesses cause a decrease in DHEA-S. Physical activity, fasting, smoking – increase.

Reasons for increased DHA-S levels:

adrenal hyperandrogenism (adrenal hyperplasia, tumors, Cushing's disease)

Reasons for low DHA-S levels:

17-ketosteroids are metabolic products of male sex hormones. This analysis allows you to evaluate the total level of all male hormones per day. This is an advantage over individual hormone blood tests, which measure individual hormone levels over time and are thus less sensitive. Daily urine on 17-KS allows you to catch any fluctuations in any male hormones during the day. This method would be more informative than a blood test for hormones if everything was collected and prepared for analysis correctly. In modern conditions, if the laboratory determines 17-hydroxyprogesterone in the blood, it is better to donate blood.

In newborns and children aged 15 years, the content of 17-KS in urine is lower than in adults. With age, excretion of 17-KS increases. After 30-40 years, a gradual decrease in the concentration of 17-KS in urine is observed. Men excrete 17-CS higher than women. During pregnancy, excretion increases. Peak excretion occurs in the morning, and minimal excretion occurs at night. In winter, the content of 17-KS in urine is higher than in summer.

3 days before collection and on the day of collection, coloring foods (yellow, orange, red) are excluded from food: carrots, beets, red apples, citrus fruits (all including juices, salads, sauces, soups, etc.), vitamins. Otherwise, the indicator will be overestimated. On the eve of the study, physical activity, smoking, and stress are excluded.

On the day of collection, the first morning portion of urine is not collected. Next, the whole day, all night and the first morning portion of the next day (at the same time, just the day before, i.e. so that exactly 24 hours pass between two morning portions) are collected in one large container. Next, the volume of daily urine is carefully measured with a measuring cup (the accuracy of the analysis depends on the accuracy of the volume) and written down on a piece of paper along with your full name. The contents of the container are mixed and poured into a small jar, like a regular urine test. The 17-KS level will be recalculated to the total daily volume indicated on the piece of paper.

Beta subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin. Chorionic gonadotropin is synthesized by the cells of the chorion - the membrane of the embryo. Its determination in the blood or urine means the presence of chorionic tissue in the body: pregnancy, remnants of membranes after the end of pregnancy, a tumor of chorionic tissue (hydatidiform mole, chorionic carcinoma). Judge the well-being of pregnancy, embryo viability, etc. hCG cannot be directly assessed, because it is secreted not by the cells of the embryo, but by the membranes, which can continue to grow even after the pregnancy has died out. HCG consists of two subunits; it is the beta subunit that is specific, and it is on its determination that the diagnosis of pregnancy is based. However, it also has more than half the same composition as LH of the pituitary gland.

Exceeding the norm for a given stage of pregnancy:

  • hydatidiform mole, chorionic carcinoma
  • multiple pregnancy

Decrease, insufficient dynamics of hCG growth:

  • threatened abortion
  • ectopic pregnancy
  • placental insufficiency

Signs of elevated ACTH

A prolonged increase in ACTH, for example, with a pituitary adenoma or a disruption of the relationship in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system, causes proliferation of the adrenal cortex (hyperplasia) and increased secretion of their hormones. Excess cortisol and other corticosteroids disrupt metabolic processes, which causes numerous changes in the body.

Characteristic appearance:

  • fat deposits in the face, neck, back, abdomen;
  • fat deposits at the level of the 7th cervical vertebra, which form a “menopausal” hump;
  • thin limbs.

Skin changes:

  • redness of the facial skin with a cyanotic, bluish tint;
  • acne;
  • thinning of the skin on the hands;
  • marble pattern of the skin - blood vessels are visible;
  • purple “stretch marks” on the stomach;
  • spider veins.

Impaired functioning of the cardiovascular system is the result of impaired excretory function of the kidneys, which leads to a decrease in sodium and excess potassium in the body. Manifestations:

  • increased blood pressure;
  • cardiopalmus;
  • pain in the heart area;
  • muscle tissue dystrophy.

Immune suppression , frequent viral diseases and purulent inflammation.

Calcium loss from bone tissue:

  • tooth decay;
  • bone pain;
  • pathological fractures of the spine.

Increased blood sugar levels are associated with decreased insulin sensitivity.

Hyperandrogyny is an excess of male sex hormones with a deficiency of estrogen and progesterone:

  • excess hair growth on the upper lip, chin, neck, chest, abdomen, arms, legs;
  • menstrual irregularities;
  • absence of menstruation;
  • infertility;
  • decreased sex drive.

Precocious sexual development is caused by high levels of gonadotropic hormones due to ACTH deficiency in childhood. Manifests:

  • atrophy of the mammary glands
  • reduction of the labia;
  • clitoral enlargement;
  • armpit and pubic hair growth;
  • accelerated growth;
  • early onset of menstruation in girls under 8 years of age.

A short-term increase in ACTH is a normal reaction of the body to external influences and does not cause characteristic symptoms.

What hormone tests should be taken when planning pregnancy?

Women planning a pregnancy are most likely to face the need for the following tests:

Thyroid-stimulating hormone TSH is a pituitary hormone that controls the activity of the thyroid gland. It stimulates the synthesis of thyroid hormones, and their level, in turn, affects its production - the feedback principle.

In women, the concentration of TSH in the blood is approximately 20% higher than in men. With age, TSH concentrations increase slightly. TSH is characterized by a circadian rhythm: TSH reaches its highest values ​​in the blood at 2-4 a.m., in the morning hours the highest level in the blood is determined at 6 a.m., and the minimum TSH values ​​are observed at 5-6 p.m. In middle-aged women and old men, the maximum peak of serum TSH occurs in December.

Reasons for increasing the level of the hormone TSH:

  • primary hypothyroidism (underfunction of the thyroid gland, increased TSH according to the feedback principle)
  • TSH-producing tumors

Reasons for a decrease in the level of the hormone TSH:

  • primary hyperthyroidism (excess thyroid function, decreased TSH by feedback principle)
  • decreased pituitary function
  • treatment with thyroid hormone drugs

Free thyroxine FT4 and total thyroxine T4

Thyroxine is the main hormone of the thyroid gland. Regulates metabolism, energy metabolism, processes of synthesis and breakdown of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, growth, development and reproduction, oxygen metabolism, body temperature. It is synthesized under the influence of pituitary TSH, which, in turn, suppresses its release.

Preparation for analysis When taking blood, do not use disinfectants containing iodine!

In adults, T4 and FT4 levels decline with age after age 40. Women have lower thyroxine concentrations than men. During pregnancy, the concentration of thyroxine increases, reaching maximum values ​​in the third trimester.

During the year, the maximum T4 values ​​are observed between September and February, the minimum in the summer. During the day, the maximum concentration of thyroxine is determined from 8 to 12 hours, the minimum - from 23 to 3 hours.

Fasting, poor diet low in protein, exposure to lead, heavy muscular exercise and training, various types of stress, weight loss in obese women, surgery, hemodialysis can contribute to a decrease in T4 and FT4 levels. Hyperemia, obesity, interruption of heroin intake (due to an increase in transport proteins) cause an increase in T4, heroin reduces FT4 in the blood serum. Smoking causes both underestimation and overestimation of thyroxine test results. Applying a tourniquet when drawing blood with and without “hand work” causes an increase in T4 and FT4.

Reasons for increasing the level of the total hormone T4:

Reasons for decreased levels of the total hormone T4:

  • hypothyroidism
  • decreased pituitary function

Free T4 (the proportion of T4 not bound to plasma proteins is its active part)

Reasons for increasing free T4:

  • hyperthyroidism
  • taking thyroxine medications

Reasons for decreased free T4:

  • hypothyroidism
  • 3rd trimester of pregnancy (increases in the number of binding proteins)

Decreased ACTH hormone

Symptoms of ACTH deficiency in women:

  • Weight loss , significant weight loss.
  • Bronze disease or excessive skin pigmentation. This is due to excessive production of the pigment melanin, which is responsible for the color of the skin. First, open areas, external genitalia, nipple halos, and skin folds acquire a dark color.
  • Digestive disorders . Decreased appetite or lack thereof, constipation, causeless nausea, pain in the intestines and stomach.
  • Severe weakness , moderate muscle pain in the absence of physical activity. This is due to metabolic disorders and its insufficient intensity.
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Usually accompanied by a deterioration in health 2-3 hours after eating. Caused by excessive sensitivity to insulin. In this article, we looked in detail at the issue of normal blood sugar levels in adults before and after meals.
  • Mental disorders . It manifests itself in depression, apathy, poor memory, lethargy, physical inactivity, and sometimes psychosis and neurotic states develop. This is caused by low levels of the hormones T3 and T4.
  • Hypogonadism . Low ACTH levels provoke a lack of estrogen, which causes various menstrual irregularities, including their absence. Underdevelopment of the genital organs in women, both internal and external, may also be observed. This symptom can appear in childhood.

Reasons for decreased ACTH levels in the blood:

  • Corticotropin decreases as a result of damage to the pituitary gland or when the concentration of adrenal hormones is excessively high. This can occur as a result of injury or infection.
  • Corticosteroma is an adrenal tumor. Increases the release of cortisol, causing obesity, increased blood pressure and blood glucose levels, and migraines.
  • Benign and malignant tumors of the pituitary gland.
  • Inflammatory processes in the pituitary gland , lymphocytic hypophysitis. For unknown reasons, this complication occurs in women after childbirth. Symptoms such as hypotension, low temperature, headaches, and blurred vision occur.
  • Autoimmune disorders in the pituitary gland . They present themselves as follows: diabetes insipidus, low body temperature (below 36 degrees), exhaustion, frequent chills, early appearance of gray hair, destruction of dental tissue, dry skin.
  • Taking drugs that suppress ACTH synthesis . These are medications such as cryptoheptadine, calcium gluconate, ethyl alcohol, amphetamines and glucocorticoids.

Possible consequences

The most important consequence of a lack of ACTH in the body is insufficient function of the thyroid gland and adrenal glands. This has a direct connection with the malfunction of the hypothalamus and pituitary gland.

A lack of thyroid hormones leads to a number of disruptions in the functioning of other body systems, and metabolic processes are inhibited. Fainting may occur frequently, and sexual function may be impaired. A short-term decrease in corticotropin in the blood does not have negative consequences.

How to increase reduced ACTH?

For this purpose, modern science has a wide range of possibilities. The choice of treatment tactics depends primarily on the cause of adrenal insufficiency. The goal of treatment is to normalize hormonal deficiency, replace the deficiency of biologically active substances, and eliminate the cause of the disease.

Eliminating the cause of adrenal insufficiency is as follows:

  • effective treatment of tuberculosis (and for this they use an integrated approach with the prescription of highly effective anti-tuberculosis drugs, physiotherapeutic procedures, etc.);
  • effective treatment of fungal pathologies (the patient needs to treat foot fungus, candidiasis and other pathologies);
  • therapeutic measures aimed at getting rid of syphilis;
  • antitumor therapy of the pituitary gland (if pathologies of the pituitary gland are observed;
  • surgical removal of other tumors.

Often, during all therapeutic procedures, the patient remains hypocortisolic. In such cases, the patient is prescribed lifelong replacement therapy, which significantly improves the patient's condition. But if he is inattentive to the doctor’s recommendations, the disease will worsen again.

Treatment of primary adrenal disease consists of the use of glucocorticosteroid drugs. Typically, the treatment regimen is chosen by the doctor on an individual basis. For mild hypocortisolism, Cortisone and Hydrocortisone are used. In case of severe disorders, it is necessary to combine Prednisolone, Cortisone acetate, mineralocorticoids (such as deoxycorticosterone trimethyl acetate, DOXA).

Such therapy will be effective if the patient’s blood pressure is normalized, hyperpigmentation of certain areas of the body goes away, and body weight begins to gain. With effective treatment, the patient’s well-being significantly improves, dyspepsia disappears, and digestion is normalized. An important place in therapy is the elimination of anorexia, normalization of motor activity to prevent the development of muscle weakness.

In case of secondary adrenal insufficiency, only treatment with glucocorticosteroid drugs should be carried out. This is due to the fact that although ACTH is low, the formation of aldosterone is preserved. If certain stress factors occur, the dose of glucocorticosteroids is increased several times. During pregnancy, a slight increase in ACTH is allowed only in the second trimester.

Anabolic steroids can be used by both men and women. In Addisonian crisis it is indicated:

  • rehydration (use isotonic sodium chloride solution up to two liters per day, 20% glucose solution;
  • replacement therapy with Hydrocortisone and similar drugs;
  • symptomatic treatment of all pathologies that led to decompensation of adrenal insufficiency.

Provided that all therapeutic measures are prescribed correctly, the prognosis of the disease is favorable. Treatment adjustment is indicated for frequent exacerbations. Persons with chronic adrenal insufficiency should be registered with an endocrinologist.

The essence of the cortisol test

Since blood cortisol concentrations are subject to fluctuations throughout the day, the material is collected exclusively in the morning hours (from 7 to 9).

For men, it doesn’t matter what day the hydrocortisone test is scheduled. However, women of childbearing age need to separately ask their doctor when to take a hydrocortisone test and on what day of the cycle.

When testing blood, it may be necessary to perform additional stress tests (large or small dexamethasone test).

Preparing for a hydrocortisone test includes a standard list of steps for testing hormone concentrations.

Important! Hydrocortisone is a less common name for the stress hormone cortisone.

The main actions on the part of the patient, which play a significant role in increasing the reliability of the results, are the following:

  1. For 1 day, do not drink alcoholic beverages, fatty or excessively salty foods. Try to avoid stressful factors.
  2. For 3 days, give up any physical activity and sexual contacts.
  3. Avoid meals 8 hours in advance and drink clean and still water.
  4. You must stop taking hormonal medications 14 days before the exact date of blood sampling.

However, rates may vary depending on the laboratory and its equipment.

The cost of blood testing for the hormone can also vary. For Moscow it fluctuates between 400-700 rubles.

When urine is taken for cortisol, it is not necessary to take into account the daily fluctuations of this hormone in the body.

The norm is considered to be an indicator that is in the range of 6-138 nmol/day.

When testing urine for cortisol, you should avoid the following factors that may negatively affect the final test result.

The following things can increase cortisol in urine:

Increased blood glucose.
Anesthesia, stress.
Use of amphetamines and methamphetamines.
Excessive fluid intake.

The following factors can reduce the level of cortisol in urine:

  1. Grapefruit juice.
  2. Thiazide diuretics.
  3. Drugs Ketonazole and Dexamethasone.
  4. Inhaled glucocorticoids used to treat bronchial asthma.

In most cases, 24-hour urine tests are necessary to diagnose hypercortisolism - an increase in the concentration of free cortisol in the blood.

Urine is considered the best material for research - such an analysis of adrenal hormones more accurately reflects the state of the cortex of these endocrine glands.

What hormone level should be normal?

It should be noted that the level of the hormone in the body is different for women and men. That is why it would be inappropriate to provide specific figures. If you are wondering what exactly your hormone levels should be, visit a medical facility. In a healthy person, the level of the hormone changes several times a day, with the highest levels observed in the morning. When planning a pregnancy, this parameter is important. If hormones are higher than normal, you need to first adjust them, and only then think about pregnancy.


In a healthy person, the ACTH concentration ranges from 5 to 45 pg per 1 ml. The result may be influenced by the following factors:

  • day of the menstrual cycle (optimally on the sixth or seventh);
  • time of day (from 7 to 8 am the maximum, and by 21 o’clock it reaches a minimum);
  • pregnancy;
  • change of time zones (it takes at least a week to restore normal levels);
  • stress – pain, cold, physical strain, excitement, anxiety, fear.


If the adrenal glands produce little cortisol, then ACTH increases by 1.5-2 times. This condition is called Addison's disease. It occurs with autoimmune disorders or severe tuberculosis infection. The second reason is a tumor (adenoma) of the anterior pituitary gland, which intensively produces ACTH. Patients develop hypercortisolism syndrome, Itsenko-Cushing's disease.

An increase in the concentration of the hormone also occurs in neoplasms outside the adrenal glands, if they are capable of synthesizing compounds similar to ACTH in structure and function. Such tumors occur in the uterus, lungs and intestines. Rarer reasons include:

  • insulin therapy;
  • administration of a synthetic analogue of ACTH;
  • use of Veroshpiron or drugs with estrogens, amphetamine, alcohol, Prednisolone;
  • congenital enlargement of the adrenal glands (hyperplasia);
  • Nelson's syndrome (occurs with bilateral removal of the adrenal glands);
  • traumatic injuries, extensive operations.


Pathological conditions that lead to low scores include:

  • long-term treatment with corticosteroids (hydrocortisone and analogues);
  • secondary adrenal insufficiency;
  • Itsenko-Cushing syndrome;
  • adrenal tumors;
  • low activity of the pituitary gland (hypopituitarism).

Adrenocorticotropic hormone is produced by pituitary cells when the concentration of cortisol in the blood decreases, under stress, in response to the supply of corticoliberin from the hypothalamus. Under its influence, metabolic processes and the formation of sex hormones change, puberty in children is accelerated.

Insufficient intake into the blood leads to disruption of the adrenal glands, cortisol deficiency, which is manifested by low blood pressure, darkening of the skin, and weight loss. An excessive increase in concentration causes hypercortisolism with obesity, hypertension, excess hair growth, and changes in the menstrual cycle.

What is the importance of hormones for the human body?

When answering the question of what adrenocorticotropic hormone is, you must first determine its role in the human body. The adrenal cortex is under its control; it determines how successfully and in what quantities such important substances as glucocorticoids will be produced. Such substances directly affect the successful functioning of cells on which the activity of the human body depends. It also controls a number of glands, which are also important for maintaining health. Corticotropin, this hormone also depends on actr, and corticotropin releasing hormone plays a very important role in the human body.

Specifically, adrenocorticotropic hormone has the following functions:

  • a person’s weight is controlled;
  • how strong the muscles and muscle reaction are, athletes are often interested in this function;
  • tissue functions - how invulnerable they are in difficult situations.

But adrenocorticotropic hormone also has other functions - it affects the process of fat breakdown. Such functions are very important; they determine how successfully the blood is saturated with amino acids and glucose.

Adrenocorticotropic hormone is

Answering the question of what it is - adrenocorticotropic hormone, you should immediately determine its role in the body.
It regulates the activity of the adrenal cortex, promotes the production of hormones such as glucocorticoids, in particular corticosterone, cortisone, cortisol. Thus, ACTH directly affects the following important indicators of the human body:

  • weight;
  • muscle mass and the strength of their reactions;
  • the ability of tissues to be invulnerable in extreme situations.

It is worth noting that ACTH can still influence the process during which fats are broken down and the blood is saturated with amino acids and glucose.

Role of ACTH:

  • weight adjustment;
  • control over the rate of lipid metabolism;
  • maintaining normal blood glucose levels;
  • regulation of the adrenal cortex;
  • participation in estrogen synthesis;
  • control of aldosterone synthesis;
  • enhancing the action of peptide hormones (prolactin, somatotropin).
  • normalization of the menstrual cycle.

That is, thanks to the action of ACTH, a woman’s body copes with infections, stress, and has the opportunity to conceive a child.

Important is the ability of ACTH to maintain adequate cortisol production. Cortisol in the body performs important functions: relieves pain, promotes blood flow to muscles, normalizes sugar levels, and prevents allergic reactions.

At the same time, increased levels of cortisol have negative consequences: it reduces immunity, disrupts digestion, and promotes protein breakdown. When cortisol levels are elevated, there is a risk of muscle loss.

Adrenocorticotropic hormone is a peptide (protein) compound. It is produced in one of the areas of the brain - the hypothalamic-pituitary gland; the adrenal gland is dependent on the concentrations of the hormone produced by the pituitary gland.

Adrenocorticotropin regulates the functions of the adrenal cortex, thereby provoking the synthesis of glucocorticoid hormones entering the bloodstream.

When corticotropic hormone is produced in high concentrations, the adrenal glands begin to receive large volumes of blood - their blood supply increases and the gland increases in its own parameters.

When low concentrations are produced, atrophy of the gland can occur.

This hormone is also called corticotropin. In medical practice, they use the abbreviation: Adrenocorticotropic hormone - ACTH.

hormone of the anterior pituitary gland, located in the center of the brain. The stimulator of ACTH synthesis is a hormone of the hypothalamus - corticoliberin.

According to the chemical structure, ACTH is a chain of 39 amino acids. The precursor molecule of ACTH is proopiomelanocortin (POMC), from which beta-andorphin (the hormone of pain relief and happiness) and melanocyte-stimulating hormone (causes darkening of the skin and tanning) are also synthesized.

Adrenocorticotropic hormone (or ACTH hormone) is an important substance in the human body produced by the pituitary gland tissues. After all, the pituitary gland is one of the main glands of the endocrine system, which is responsible for performing most of the vital functions of the human body.

ACTH hormone is produced by eosinophil cells of the anterior pituitary gland. The literal translation from Latin defines the hormone as related to the adrenal glands. Entering the bloodstream to the adrenal cortex, it triggers the production of specific hormones by these glands.

ACTH hormone is essentially a protein compound represented by a very complex structure. Most of the areas on the surface of this structure are responsible for certain functions in the human body.

The main ones are stabilization of the function of certain tissues and organs and immunogenic effects. Substances within the molecule listen to circadian rhythms, constantly changing their concentration in response depending on events occurring both in the external space and in the internal environment of our body.

The adrenocorticotropic hormone itself, responsible for the functioning of the adrenal cortex, stimulates the production of other hormones - glucocorticoids, namely cortisone, cortisol, adrenocorticosteroid. These hormones have a direct effect on stimulating the functioning of the body at the cellular level and regulate the functioning of certain glands.

With sudden changes in the environment, forced moves, or stay in new climatic conditions, adrenocorticotropic hormone is in a state of shock. After some time, when a slight adaptation to new conditions has occurred, the hormone gradually returns to its normal state. This function of the hormone is considered protective for the body.

There are several factors that influence the increase in ACTH concentration in human blood:

  • significant physical activity;
  • long-term depressive states;
  • stressful conditions;
  • sudden fears;
  • chronic stressful conditions;
  • experiences and fears;
  • frequent unrest;
  • rejection of various environmental factors.

A special behavior of the hormone is observed in the body of women. The rate of its concentration also directly depends on the menstrual cycle, gestation of the embryo and the lactation period.

Another function of corticotropin is a direct effect on the body’s energy supply and expenditure. Corticotropin affects the synthesis of steroid hormones in the adrenal cortex. Steroids perform important functions in organs and tissues of the human body.

Independently and in conjunction with the above hormones, ACTH has a direct effect on the most important indicators of the human body:

  • weight;
  • muscle mass;
  • strength of muscle reactions;
  • invulnerability of tissues in extreme cases.

ACTH also influences the breakdown of fats and the saturation of the blood with amino acids and glucose.

Generated by the pituitary gland and its eosinophilic cells, corticotropin enters the human kidneys and liver. Depending on its production, the adrenal glands work. The mechanism of action is as follows: if the production of the hormone is normal, the response ensures a rush of blood to the adrenal glands, and they actively function. With a lack of iron hormone, it can atrophy.

The production of corticotropin is influenced by active substances produced by the brain of the head; glucocorticosteroid produced by the adrenal glands; corticoliberin, generated by the hypothalamus part of the brain.

Adrenocorticotropic hormone affects the production of glucocorticoids, in particular, under its action, corticosterone, cortisone, and cortisol are formed. The functions of the hormone include stimulating the formation of adrenocorticosteroid.

The mechanism is such that the substance indirectly affects the formation of adrenaline. All of these hormones influence how the body performs its functions at the cellular level. Under the influence of corticotropin, sex hormones are produced.

The mechanism of action of the adrenal glands is inversely related to the production of corticotropin. In each state of the body, the pituitary gland produces such an amount of corticotropin that will provide the required level of hormones produced by the adrenal glands.

Since adrenocorticotropic hormone is responsible for the synthesis of various biologically active substances in the body, it affects the following body functions:

  • State of the immune system (disease resistance);
  • Adaptability to changing external circumstances;
  • Necessary reaction to stressful situations;
  • Reduced allergic reactions;
  • Increasing the pain threshold in a critical situation;
  • Ensuring the possibility of childbearing.

All these functions are provided in both women and men. The amount of corticotropin in the body depends on the time of day. Its highest value is reached at 7 am, the lowest value is noted at 23 o'clock. This is the average time of the maximum and minimum. The exact figure depends on your sleep and wakefulness patterns.


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Actg - (ACTG), ADRENOCORTICOTROPIC HORMONE (adrenocortikotrophic), ADRENOCORTICOTROPIN (adrenocortikotrophih), CORTICOTROPIN (corticotrophin) - a hormone synthesized by the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland. Produced in large quantities in response to any stressful situation. ACTH controls the secretion of corticosteroid hormones produced by the adrenal glands. It is usually prescribed in the form of injections to study the functions of the adrenal glands or to treat certain rheumatic diseases (especially in children) and asthma.;

Found in 828 questions:

gynecologist October 5, 2020 / Irina / Kolchugino

… 46.2 (30-100) Calcitonin ˂2 (˂14) Free T4 1.28 (0.8-2.1) TSH 2.47 (0.27-4.2) Testosterone 0.025 (0.084-0.481) ACTH

16.3 (7.2-63.6) Serum iron 26.1 (5.8-34.5) Latent iron-binding capacity 29.3 (24.2-70.1) OZhSS 55.4 (45-63) … open

arthrologist October 1, 2020 / Svetlana... / Moscow

... Lamberg-total syndrome (there really is no data on cancer, there was pneumonia, TBS is excluded), adrenal insufficiency?, Blood was taken for cortisol, ACTH

impossible to do). Question: can severe muscle weakness be a manifestation of rheumatoid arthritis?

pediatric endocrinologist July 31, 2020 / Irina / Nizhny Novgorod region

..., my son’s 17-0n progesterone level was slightly elevated since birth. Now he is 6 months old, potassium -4.99, sodium 138, 17-on-56, actg

-20.67, renin activity - 5.38. The endocrinologist diagnoses VDC in a simple form, but has doubts. Height 71 cm, weight 8200 kg. Assigned cortef 3 ... open

endocrinologist December 3, 2020 / Marina / Kurgan

Good evening, I’m worried about severe sweating, as if it’s pouring from a bucket,,,,, and the crunch of creaking bones and joints,,,,, the lumbar bone aches,,,, it feels like it’s from the bones... open

December 9, 2020 / Alexander

..., low, but within normal limits. So adrenal insufficiency can neither be confirmed nor denied. You can look at ACTH

. You can test for sodium and glucose in a biochemical blood test. It’s not clear from your description why you should take aldosterone - after all...

endocrinologist December 6, 2020 / Anna / Vladimir

... pain, no narrowing of vision. The latest tests showed: TSH - 3.0 (normal 0.23-3.4 µU/ml); T4 (free) - 16.1 pmol/l (normal 10.0-23.2); at to TG - 75.0 (normal up to 65 U/ml); LH - 6.0 mIU/l; FSH - 6.1 mIU/ml; prolactin - 1023 mU/l, ACTH

— 11 pg/ml (norm to open

endocrinologist August 29, 2020 / Bariyat / Makhachkala

Hello. In 2006, my son was prescribed Cortef 10 daily. We took it until April 2020 in April 2020 my son had 7 courses of high-dose chemotherapy and BMT... open

August 30, 2020 / Alexander

...cortef was appointed for the first time. Donate sodium and blood glucose. Measure blood pressure. Not necessary, but possible - cortisol and ACTH

in blood. Judging by “secondary hypocortisolism”, some of the listed or replacement tests may be included in the extracts from...

endocrinologist August 30, 2020 / Andrey / Yelets

... conditions can occur due to hormonal disorders. About 10 years ago I took tests for some hormones. Of these, the ACTH

(67.1 with a norm of 8.3-57.8 pg/ml)... Cortisol is within the normal range - 504 (with a norm of 150-660 nmol/l). Thyroid gland in ... open

pediatric endocrinologist July 17, 2020 / Alina / Saransk

... At the 2nd week of a child’s life, cortisol is 38, actg

— 10. Treatment — Cortef 2.5 mg twice a day.
At half a year, cortisol is 122, actg
is 46. We increased the dose of Cortef: morning 3.75 mg, ... 1/4 tablet.
Cortineffa 1 r/day. At 10 months ACTH
returned to normal - 8, cortisol drops - first 68, ... open

endocrinologist July 3, 2020 / Anonymous

Hello, test for Cortisol 544, the norm is up to 660; ACTH

5.0 norm open

July 4, 2020 / Alexander

Hello. Decreased ACTH

and elevated cortisol do not generally indicate an adrenal tumor. There must be more significant deviations from the norm. Your test results may also be for a healthy person

July 3, 2020 / Anonymous

Anonymous, The question is that they say that ACTH

and elevated cortisol indicate an adrenal tumor?

endocrinologist May 12, 2020 / Alexander... / Moscow

Hello, the tests showed increased ACTH

I recently retook it, but it was like TSH, T4 and T2, but not ACTG
Everything is normal in them. Does this indicate the norm of the actg
or did it specifically have to be taken? open

May 14, 2020 / Alexander

Hello. The levels of TSH, T4 and T3 do not in any way characterize the level of ACTH

However, ACTH
is an inaccurate analysis and in most tests performed in the Russian Federation, its increase does not mean anything.

Normal ACTH level in blood

For humans, increased and decreased levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone are equally dangerous.

If the level is increased by approximately 2 times, then this indicates the following pathologies:

  • Cushing's syndrome. At the same time, the pituitary gland becomes larger and begins to intensively produce ACTH. As a result, the production of cortisol (stress hormone) increases.
  • Pituitary tumor.
  • Addison's disease. The adrenal glands do not produce cortisol, so the pituitary gland produces large amounts of ACTH.
  • Paraneoplastic syndrome. The pituitary gland reacts to neoplasms in other organs (pancreas, lungs) with increased production of adrenocorticotropic hormone.
  • Nelson's syndrome. Occurs after surgical removal of the adrenal glands.
  • Adrenal tumors, in which the organs produce large amounts of ACTH without regard to cortisol levels.
  • Adrenal virilism. There is an increased synthesis of male hormones by the adrenal cortex. In women, this is manifested by obesity and male-pattern hair growth.

Excess ACTH and cortisol disrupts metabolism, causing negative changes in the body. Signs of elevated ACTH levels:

  • obesity in the face, neck, abdomen with no fat on the legs;
  • menopausal hump (fat in the area of ​​the 7th cervical vertebra);
  • stretch marks on the skin of a purple color;
  • a large number of pigment spots;
  • thinned skin of the hands;
  • increased blood pressure;
  • arrhythmia;
  • chronic fatigue;
  • tooth decay;
  • cycle disruption.

During stress, the level of adrenocotitropic hormone may increase briefly, but this will not cause any external manifestations. This can happen when a person has experienced stressful situations:

  • burns;
  • injuries;
  • hypothermia;
  • infectious diseases;
  • bleeding;
  • low carbohydrate diet;
  • experienced fear.

Low ACTH levels are no less dangerous. In medicine, the following reasons for the decline are indicated:

  • Benign tumors of the adrenal glands that produce cortisol. The patient develops obesity, hypertension, and increased sugar levels.
  • Endemic goiter, in which hyperplasia of the thyroid gland occurs.
  • Atrophy of the adrenal cortex (secondary hypocortisolism). Low cortisol levels provoke a decrease in ACTH production.
  • Autoimmune damage to the pituitary gland. Diabetes appears, teeth are destroyed.
  • Injuries of the pituitary gland and hypothalamus. As a result, adrenal insufficiency begins.
  • Inflammatory processes in the pituitary gland (lymphocytic hypophysitis). It often occurs after childbirth and is manifested by weight loss, weakness, and dizziness.

Also, a slight decrease occurs during menstruation and after an X-ray examination.

A decrease in ACTH levels is indicated by the following conditions:

  • Weight loss for no apparent reason.
  • Digestive disorders (constipation, diarrhea, flatulence).
  • Low glucose levels.
  • Decreased blood pressure.
  • Weakness, fatigue.
  • Visual impairment.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Early gray hair.
  • Tooth decay.
  • Reduced body temperature to 36 degrees.
  • Mental disorders (depression, apathy, mental breakdowns).
  • Decreased memory and attention.
  • Hypogonadism (underdevelopment of the female genital organs).

The following pathologies can increase hormone levels:

  • Itsenko-Cushing's disease. In most cases, it develops as a result of a benign tumor of the pituitary gland, due to which the gland increases in size and increases the production of ACTH. The hormone produced, in turn, helps stimulate the formation of cortisol in the adrenal cortex.
  • Syndrome of ectopic ACTH production. Ideally, the hormone should be synthesized exclusively by the pituitary gland. However, it happens that a neoplasm that has appeared in the internal organs begins to produce it. As a result, ACTH is elevated. Pituitary cells have a strong sensitivity to this hormone, but tumor cells do not.
  • Addison's disease (hypocorticism) or congenital adrenal hyperplasia. This pathology is characterized by the lack of the adrenal glands’ ability to produce cortisol. As a result, the pituitary gland tries to create as much of the hormone as possible.
  • Nelson's syndrome. This disorder is observed in some people suffering from Cushing's disease and undergoing surgery to remove the adrenal glands. It differs in that chronic adrenal insufficiency develops simultaneously and a pituitary tumor forms. These pathologies lead to an increase in ACTH.
  • Paraneoplastic syndrome. This deviation is characterized by the fact that the pituitary gland has a nonspecific reaction to the occurrence of a malignant neoplasm in any other organ. Tumors are usually found in the thymus or pancreas, as well as in the lungs and nervous system.

DETAILS: What does the term arterial hypertension mean?

The hormone can be elevated not only due to the presence of the above pathologies. The result of the analysis is also influenced upward by the use of certain medications, such as insulin, amphetamine, calcium gluconate, ethanol and others.

ACTH deficiency is observed in the following disorders:

  • Itsenko-Cushing syndrome. The cause of the pathology is a malignant neoplasm developing in the adrenal glands. But it should be distinguished from the disease of the same name, since it causes excessive secretion of cortisol, as a result of which the content of the hormone in the pituitary gland is significantly reduced.
  • A neoplasm of the adrenal glands that has a benign course. Not all, but many tumors are capable of producing cortisol, thereby reducing ACTH levels.
  • Secondary hypocortisolism. This deviation develops due to disturbances in the functioning of the pituitary gland and is characterized by atrophy of the adrenal cortex. This happens because, as a result of low levels of the hormone in the blood, the full synthesis of cortisol is not ensured. The deviation is often accompanied by insufficiency of other glands of the endocrine system.

A decrease in the hormone, as well as an increase, can be observed when taking certain medications. For example, a hormonal drug such as cryptoheptadine can reduce ACTH levels.

Not only improper preparation for blood sampling can distort the results of laboratory tests, but also other factors. The production of the hormone ACTH is subordinate to the secretory rhythm of corticoliberin, and it, in turn, depends on the circadian rhythm. Corticotropin can be significantly increased from 6 to 8 am, decreased - from 6 to 11 pm.

Also, ACTH levels can be increased or decreased due to reasons such as:

  • time zone change;
  • phase of the menstrual cycle;
  • recent surgical interventions;
  • presence of severe stress;
  • increased body temperature;
  • pregnancy;
  • the patient's mental state.

What is ACTH?

Before answering the question ACTH hormone, what is it in a woman, it is necessary to determine the principle of the appearance of the hormone in the human body. The hormone corticotropin is a product of the pituitary gland, the center of the human endocrine system located in the brain. Refers to the stress hormone. The ACTH molecule is taken up from the blood by the kidneys and liver. The production of corticotropin is influenced by: biologically active chemicals of the brain, GCS from the adrenal glands, corticoliberin of the hypothalamus.

The influence of the ACHT hormone on the female body occurs through the adrenal glands. Excess hormone in the blood promotes the formation of androgens and glucocorticosteroids. At normal levels, cortisol synthesis is stimulated.

ACTH hormone has a direct effect on the production of hormones such as:

  1. Sex hormones responsible for puberty and reproductive function in the female body.
  2. Glucocorticosteroids - cortisol and cortisone. These hormones help avoid shock and the negative effects of stress on a woman’s body, have a positive effect on metabolic processes, reduce the likelihood of allergic reactions, and also have a powerful immunoregulatory effect.
  3. Indirectly for the production of adrenaline.

In other words, ACTH hormone is responsible for: the woman’s body’s resistance to infections, adaptability to new living conditions, the ability to give birth to children, maintaining balance within the body, resistance to stressful situations, and also stimulates the heart and the release of insulin from the pancreas. The level of adrenocorticotropic hormone in a woman’s blood changes within 24 hours. The maximum concentration of ACTH in the blood reaches 7 am; throughout the day the amount of the hormone decreases and in the evening hours it decreases to the daily minimum.

Aggressive physical activity, stressful situations, as well as hormonal imbalances have a direct impact on the amount of corticotropin in a woman’s blood. An increase or decrease in adrenocorticotropic hormone is equally unfavorable for the functioning of the body.

The normal level of ACTH in a woman’s body is from 9 to 46 pg/ml. To determine the level of adrenocorticotropic hormone, a special ACTH test is used. The test allows you to assess the functional state of the adrenal glands. This test is performed only if there is a suspicion of a malfunction of the adrenal cortex. Women undergo an ACTH test on day 7 of their menstrual cycle.

Signs of decreased ACTH

With a long-term decrease in ACTH levels associated with disruption of the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, hypofunction of the adrenal glands and thyroid gland occurs. Hormone deficiency of these glands manifests itself in a decrease in metabolic processes. As a rule, the symptoms are mild.

Hyperpigmentation or “bronze disease” due to excessive stimulation of melanocytes and the production of melanin (the pigment responsible for skin color). The first to darken are exposed areas of the body, halos around the nipples, external genitalia and skin folds.

Losing weight. Patients lose weight from 3 to 10 kg.

Digestive disorders associated with a decrease in the contractility of the stomach and intestines, as well as a decrease in the production of digestive juices:

  • constipation;
  • lack of appetite;
  • weight loss;
  • nausea;
  • stomach ache.

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is associated with increased tissue sensitivity to insulin. Accompanied by attacks of poor health 2-3 hours after eating.

A decrease in blood pressure is caused by a violation of mineral metabolism. Accompanied by nausea and dizziness.

Weakness is caused by a decrease in metabolic rate. Manifestations:

  • severe muscle weakness;
  • muscle pain.

Mental dysfunction occurs when the hypothalamic-pituitary system is insufficient and the levels of T3 and T4 are decreased;

  • depression
  • memory impairment;
  • indifference, apathy;
  • lethargy, inactivity;
  • psychosis.

Hypogonadism . Insufficient production of ACTH and other pituitary hormones that control the functioning of the gonads causes a deficiency of female sexual hormones estrogen and progesterone. Manifestations:

  • absence of menstruation for 6 months or more;
  • underdevelopment of the external (labia) and internal (uterus, ovaries) genital organs due to hormonal disorders that arose in childhood.

A short-term decrease in ACTH has no negative health consequences.

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