If the only thing your smart phone is good for when you’re stresses is for WebMD-ing the bazongas out of your symptoms, causing you to freak out even more, we may have found a new job for your device.
Soon you’ll be able to use that same smartphone that delivers annoying emails from your boss and naggy texts from your mom to measure your stress level, thanks to an app that will gauge cortisol levels and track them over time.
While definitely a cool advancement in tech and health, this isn’t quite the STD-screening app we heard about last week. But I’m confident I’ll have more use for this one!
The cortisol-measuring app was proposed last week at a Chicago medical conference. If it comes to be, individuals will be able to test their stress hormones from home, using a simple tube device, a phone and some spit.
Wait. What’s cortisol?
Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands. When it’s working, it provides enough energy to get us through the day. Levels are typically highest first thing in the morning, and diminish until it’s time for bed again. However, when something happens to make our bodies feel stressed, an extra injection of cortisol can be released. And while that’s perfectly normal, being chronically stressed causes too much cortisol to be released, leading to health problems like anxiety, insomnia, weight gain, depression and more.
When you put it that way, our cortisol level is something I should probably pay attention to!
The app has been designed to allow anyone with a smartphone to measure their salivary cortisol level quickly, easily and inexpensively. While some commercial labs charge up to $50 to run similar tests, this app will cost just $5 and return results in 10 minutes.
Could this change healthcare forever?
Maybe! The test will increase accessibility to these types of tests, not only economically but geographically. Plus, it can help doctors diagnose adrenal insufficiency and hypercortisolism, while monitoring cortisol levels from afar.
In a word, it’s pretty awesome. The only thing I’m worried about is that Americans are so stressed out, an app like this has become a necessity! I guess it beats our hair falling out…but I can’t promise that won’t happen anyway.
Oh, and stop diagnosing yourself with Web-MD!
(Image via Shutterstock)