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How do you test for a chemical imbalance?

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Quick Answer

Depending on a patient's specific symptoms, doctors can order different blood tests to determine if a chemical imbalance is due to issues associated with the production levels of certain hormones. Hormones are chemicals produced by different glands of the endocrine system of the body, as noted by eMedicineHealth. Chemical imbalances as the result of low or elevated levels of hormones can cause a variety of different medical conditions.

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Full Answer

The different glands of the body, such as the adrenal, pituitary, thyroid and hypothalamus glands, secrete hormones that are necessary for many bodily functions. Low or high levels of a specific hormone can cause different types of symptoms. To confirm a diagnosis, doctors order certain blood tests. For example, a cortisol test is useful to diagnose problems associated with the adrenal or pituitary glands, as noted by WebMD.

Cortisol is produced by the adrenal gland, but cortisol levels increase when the pituitary glands secretes adrenocorticotropic hormone, a stimulating hormone. A blood test that shows high levels of cortisol can indicate a problem with the adrenal gland while a low cortisol blood level result can mean a problem with the pituitary gland, notes WebMD.

Similarly, there are many other blood tests that may be useful for diagnosing medical conditions associated with the other glands. For example, different blood tests, such as a thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test or the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 tests, can indicate conditions, such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, as noted by Healthline.

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