Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate (DHEAS)

This is a test to determine if DHEAS concentration is normal and to help evaluate adrenal gland function.

Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) is a sex hormone (androgen) created in men and to a lesser extent, women. It has a role to play in developing male secondary sexual characteristics at puberty and it can be metabolized by the body into more potent androgens, such as testosterone and androstenedione, or changed into the female hormone estrogen. DHEAS is produced primarily in the adrenal cortex (outer portion of the adrenal gland) with much smaller amounts coming from the woman's ovaries and man's testes. DHEAS secretion is controlled by adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and other pituitary factors.

Since DHEAS is primarily produced by the adrenal glands, it is useful as a marker for adrenal function. Adrenal tumors, cancers, and excess growth of hormone producing tissue (hyperplasia) can lead to the overproduction of DHEAS. While elevated levels may not be noticed in adult men, they can lead to amenorrhea and visible symptoms of development of physical masculine characteristics (virilization) in women. These changes vary in severity and may include a deeper voice, excess hair growth on face or body (hirsutism), male pattern baldness, muscularity, and acne. Excess levels of DHEAS in children can cause precocious puberty in boys and ambiguous external genitalia, excess body hair, and abnormal menstrual periods in girls.

PREPARATION FOR TEST

A blood sample is obtained by inserting a needle into a vein in the arm.

NORMAL FINDINGS

  • Adult males: 10-619 mcg/dL (100-6,190 mcg/L)

  • Adult females (premenopausal): 12-535 mcg/dL (120-5,350 mcg/L)

  • Adult females (postmenopausal): 30-260 mcg/dL (300-2,600 mcg/L)

Ranges for normal findings may vary among different laboratories and hospitals. You should always check with your doctor after having lab work or other tests done to discuss the meaning of your test results and whether your values are considered within normal limits.

MEANING OF TEST

Your caregiver will go over the test results with you and discuss the importance and meaning of your results, as well as treatment options and the need for additional tests if necessary.

OBTAINING THE TEST RESULTS

It is your responsibility to obtain your test results. Ask the lab or department performing the test when and how you will get your results.