In healthy individuals, cortisol levels exhibit a circadian pattern, peaking in the morning and decreasing the rest of the day. Studies are inconclusive as to the relationship between high total cortisol levels and obesity, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes. Since cortisol levels are circadian, many naturopathic physicians use a salivary test performed at four time points during the day to measure the overall pattern of secretion, rather than relying upon a blood draw from a single time point. Some physicians hypothesize that a dysregulated pattern of cortisol is more indicative of diabetes risk than a high mean cortisol level. A retrospective chart review was performed on obese, prediabetic, and type 2 diabetes patients in order to test this theory. The goals of this study were to determine whether people with, or at risk for, type 2 diabetes have abnormal circadian cortisol patterns and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels. The chart review demonstrated four patterns of cortisol secretion, one of which is circadian, in this population.
Julie Anne Chinnock, ND
Keywords: type 2 diabetes, NIDDM, salivary testing, salivary cortisol, DHEA, obesity, chart review