In women and children, excess DHEA can indirectly lead to virilization and hirsutism, as it is metabolized into stronger androgens such as testosterone. DHEA measurements are important when investigating the source of excess androgens (hyperandrogenism) in cases of hirsutism, alopecia, infertility, and amenorrhea. It is also of value in the assessment of adrenarche and delayed puberty. High levels of DHEA are often encountered in polycystic ovary syndrome, adrenal hyperplasia and adrenal tumors.
In men, high levels of DHEA are often encountered in adrenal hyperplasia and adrenal tumors.
Signs, symptoms & indicators of Elevated DHEA
Elevated DHEA level
Reduced/low DHEA level
Conditions that suggest Elevated DHEA
A Dr. Sahelian reports in a 1998 letter to the Annals of Internal Medicine, a case report of heart rhythm irregularities with the use of DHEA. It was the first time such association was made and published. The case report mentioned heart palpitations that occurred in Dr. Borken who was taking 25mg of DHEA daily. When he stopped the DHEA, the palpitations went away, when he resumed the DHEA, the palpitations recurred. [Ann Intern Med. 1998 Oct 1;129(7):588]
Risk factors for Elevated DHEA
Early puberty onset
Girls with premature puberty have been found to have elevated levels of DHEA-S. The elevated levels are normally one of the first biochemical signs of awakening of the reproductive glands, in this case the adrenal gland after the long period of childhood inactivity.”
In PCOS, there are often increased circulatory levels of androgens produced by both the ovaries and the adrenal glands. If they are elevated, serum testosterone levels are usually between 70-120ng/dl, and androstenedione levels are usually between 3 and 5ng/ml. Also, about half the women with this syndrome have elevated DHEA-S.
Elevated DHEA can lead to
Recommendations for Elevated DHEA
Aldactone (spironolactone) decreases androgens like DHEA and testosterone and thus helps to decrease excess hair growth and acne.
|Weak or unproven link|
|Strong or generally accepted link|
|Proven definite or direct link|
|Very strongly or absolutely counter-indicative|
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Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a steroid produced by the adrenal glands and is the most abundant one found in humans. DHEA may be transformed into testosterone, estrogen or other steroids. It is found in the body as DHEA or in the sulfated form known as DHEA-S. One form is converted into the other as needed.
The principal male sex hormone that induces and maintains the changes that take place in males at puberty. In men, the testicles continue to produce testosterone throughout life, though there is some decline with age. A naturally occurring androgenic hormone.
Loss of hair.
(mg): 1/1,000 of a gram by weight.
The pituitary gland is small and bean-shaped, located below the brain in the skull base very near the hypothalamus. Weighing less than one gram, the pituitary gland is often called the "master gland" since it controls the secretion of hormones by other endocrine glands.
The cell-free fluid of the bloodstream. It appears in a test tube after the blood clots and is often used in expressions relating to the levels of certain compounds in the blood stream.
Nanogram: 0.000000001 or a billionth of a gram.