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D H E A Sulphate


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The DHEA-S test is a blood test used to determine if the adrenal glands are functioning properly. It measures the level of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) in the blood, which is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. The test is often used to diagnose adrenal tumors or cancers and to determine the cause of male physical characteristics (virilization) in girls and women or early puberty in boys. DHEA-S levels tend to remain stable throughout the day, so the time of day you take the test shouldn't affect the results. The test is a simple procedure that involves drawing blood from a vein in your arm and usually takes less than three minutes. You can then go about your normal activities as it is a very low-risk procedure.

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Purpose of the test

The DHEA-S test is a valuable tool for diagnosing and managing various conditions related to adrenal function. The test measures blood levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S), a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Here are some of the reasons a healthcare provider may order this test

- To evaluate whether the adrenal glands are working properly: The DHEA-S test is often ordered along with tests for testosterone and other male hormones to evaluate adrenal function. If DHEA-S levels are abnormal, it may indicate a problem with the adrenal glands.
- Diagnosing tumors or cancer: The DHEA-S test can help detect tumors in the outer layer (cortex) of the adrenal gland, as well as adrenal cancer. Early detection of these conditions may improve treatment outcomes.
- Determine the cause of virilization or early puberty: In girls and women, high levels of DHEA-S can cause male physical characteristics (virilization). In boys, early puberty may be caused by high levels of DHEA-S. The DHEA-S test can help determine if these conditions are caused by problems with the adrenal glands.
- Diagnosing congenital adrenal hyperplasia: Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is a genetic condition that affects how the body produces hormones. The DHEA-S test can help diagnose this condition in adults.
- Assessing Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): In women, high levels of DHEA-S may be associated with PCOS. Along with other hormone tests, DHEA-S testing can help diagnose this condition.

Identifying and treating these conditions at an early stage is crucial to maintaining good health. If left untreated, they can lead to serious complications such as infertility, diabetes, and heart disease.

It is important to note that while the DHEA-S test is a valuable tool, it's not a stand-alone diagnostic test. Healthcare providers will use the results of this test in conjunction with other tests and assessments to make a diagnosis. If you're experiencing symptoms related to adrenal function, talk to your healthcare provider about whether the DHEA-S test is right for you.

Who Should Get Tested

The DHEA-S Test may be indicated for individuals who are experiencing symptoms related to adrenal function or who have risk factors for conditions such as adrenal tumors or congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Here are some examples of who may need to be tested:

- People with symptoms of adrenal dysfunction: Symptoms may include fatigue, weakness, weight loss, abdominal pain, and changes in blood pressure.
- Women with symptoms of PCOS: Symptoms may include irregular periods, acne, and excessive hair growth.
- Children with early puberty: If a child is experiencing early puberty, their healthcare provider may order the DHEA-S test to determine if it's caused by a problem with the adrenal glands.
- Individuals with a family history of adrenal tumors or cancer: If there is a family history of these conditions, your healthcare provider may recommend the DHEA-S test as a screening tool.
- Individuals with a history of congenital adrenal hyperplasia: If you have been diagnosed with this condition in the past, your healthcare provider may order the DHEA-S test to monitor your condition.

However, it's important to note that not everyone who has these symptoms or risk factors needs to be tested. Your healthcare provider will consider your individual medical history and other factors before deciding whether the DHEA-S test is necessary.

Blood Test Preparation Guidelines
Time of day
It is recommended to schedule your appointment for blood tests in the morning hours between 7:00-10:00.
It is recommended to fast for approximately 12 hours before blood sampling. The last meal of the previous day should ideally be consumed around 6:00 p.m. On the day before the test, avoid heavy and fatty meals as well as alcohol.
Stay hydrated
Drinking water prior to testing can help with sample collection.
Other factors
Tests should not be performed after a sleepless night or intense physical activity. It is recommended to avoid exercise and stress immediately before blood collection and to not smoke. A short rest is recommended.
Medications and supplements:
Blood samples should be collected before the morning dose. Some drugs can interfere with test results. Consult with your doctor whether you can delay your dose because of lab tests.
Biotin supplements:
High doses of biotin supplements can affect test results, causing false elevation or reduction. It's recommended to avoid taking biotin for at least 72 hours before blood collection. If you are taking biotin, inform the personnel collecting the blood so that they can provide specific instructions.
Interpreting Test Results

Interpreting DHEA-S test results requires an understanding of what is considered a normal range for this hormone. Here are some general guidelines for interpreting DHEA-S test results:

- Normal range: In adults, normal DHEA-S levels typically range from 35 to 430 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL). However, the specific normal range may vary depending on the laboratory performing the test.
- High levels: If your DHEA-S levels are higher than the normal range, it may indicate a problem with adrenal function or a tumor in the adrenal gland. High levels may also be associated with PCOS in women.
- Low levels: If your DHEA-S levels are lower than the normal range, it may indicate a problem with adrenal function or a condition called Addison's disease. Low levels may also be associated with depression and other mood disorders.

It's important to note that DHEA-S levels can vary throughout the day and may be affected by factors such as stress and exercise. Your healthcare provider will take these factors into account when interpreting your test results.

If you have abnormal test results, your healthcare provider may order additional tests or imaging studies to determine the cause of the problem. They will work with you to develop a treatment plan based on your individual needs and medical history.

In general, interpreting DHEA-S test results requires careful consideration of several factors. Be sure to discuss any questions or concerns you have about your test results with your healthcare provider.

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