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Addison's Disease Message Board

Addison's Disease Board Index

You can't diagnose anything on the basis of a blood cortisol test. Unfortunately cortisol varies hourly and can have wide swings throughout the day. Thus a low value means as little as a high value.

The only reliable tests are provocative ones that force your body to produced cortisol and thus prove you don't make enough. For example, my cortisol levels were always in the "normal" range. But a provocative test showed that I had no adrenal reserve (ie: my output couldn't get above the low normal levels). That left me fine for some days, but on other more stressful days I was draggin my butt trying to make it through.

One sign of low cortisol is difficulty stabilizing your thyroid. But that also goes for other conditions as well. Other signs are low blood pressure or pressure dropping when standing (dizzy for a bit when you get up from sitting), the unusual tan (though not nearly always present), fatigue, brain fog (unable to concentrate and thing straight), and morning back pain that goes away during the day.

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