Stress Test

Available at Cape Gate.



At-home sample collection device for measuring your salivary cortisol levels. Cortisol can be measured in saliva, urine or serum. The most accurate way to check your stress levels is by measuring the levels of cortisol in your saliva. Laboratory results are provided within 5 days.


Cortisol is a glucocorticoid (or steroid) hormone that is commonly referred to as the stress hormone. It is an essential hormone that affects nearly every part of your body. Abnormally high or low levels of cortisol can have negative effects on your health.

There are three different types of stress: acute, chronic and traumatic stress, all of which can cause an increase in cortisol levels. Because almost all tissues in your body have cortisol receptors, elevated levels of the hormone can impact your health in various ways, including:

  • Regulating your body’s stress response: When you experience acute stress (e.g. almost getting into a car accident), your body releases cortisol after releasing its ‘fight or flight’ hormones, such as adrenaline, which puts you on high alert. Cortisol also causes the liver to release glucose, providing fast energy.
  • Regulating metabolism: Cortisol helps control how your body uses food for energy.
  • Suppressing inflammation: Cortisol can boost your immunity by limiting inflammation, but if you have high levels of cortisol in your system for extended periods of time, your body gets used to it, which can cause inflammation and a weakened immune system.
  • Regulating blood pressure: Elevated levels of cortisol can cause high blood pressure, while lower-than-normal levels of cortisol can cause low blood pressure.
  • Regulating blood sugar: Cortisol has the opposite effect of insulin because it raises blood sugar by releasing stored glucose, while insulin lowers blood sugar. Chronically high cortisol levels can lead to persistent high blood sugar (hyperglycaemia), which can cause type 2 diabetes.
  • Helping control your sleep-wake cycle: Typically, cortisol levels are lower in the evening when you go to sleep and higher in the morning right before you wake up. The higher levels help wake you up, while lower levels at night promote calm and sleep.

Optimal levels of cortisol in your body depend on proper functioning of your endocrine system.


Elevated cortisol levels due to acute or chronic stress can seriously impact your health, resulting in symptoms such as:

  • Weight gain or loss
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Mood swings
  • Low energy levels
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue

Risk factors for elevated cortisol levels include:

  • Chronic or long-term stress, which can result from ongoing situations that cause frustration or anxiety, such as a chronic illness, a difficult job or household issues
  • Traumatic stress caused by a life-threatening event such as a natural disaster or violent or sexual assault
  • Cushing syndrome, a rare condition resulting from the long-term production of too much cortisol, can be caused by tumours or prolonged use of corticosteroid medications (e.g. prednisone, prednisolone or dexamethasone)

Lower-than-normal cortisol levels are most commonly caused by an autoimmune disease called Addison’s disease, in which your immune system attacks healthy cells in your adrenal glands, or by an underactive pituitary gland or a pituitary tumour. Another possible cause is stopping treatment with corticosteroid medications, especially when stopped abruptly after a long period of use.


This sample kit contains a saliva collection device, along with clear instructions. Samples collected at home are couriered to and tested at the BioSmart accredited pathology laboratory.

Saliva is tested for:

  • Cortisol

Your stress health report will come in an easy to understand format, what the result means and your next steps.

Note: If you do not feel confident taking your own sample, we can help:

Call us on 021 180 4707

WhatsApp us on 082 637 7631

Email us at

Or chat via the website

Alternatively, you can have your sample taken at Cape Gate, Brackenfell, Cape Town:

Step 1:

Use this coupon code at checkout to purchase your test online and save on shipping costs: clicks23

Step 2:

Book a consultation at Clicks Cape Gate to have your sample collected.

Step 3:

Bring your receipt to Clicks Cape Gate on the day of the sample collection.

Step 4:

Pay Clicks Cape Gate directly for collecting a blood sample: R80.


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