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Addison's Disease Message Board

Addison's Disease Board Index


Hi! My goodness, you must be feeling awful. I'm so sorry for everything you're going through.

Alas, I am not one of the experts on here, so hopefully they'll chime in, but your symptoms definitely would definitely make me suspicious of adrenal fatigue or even Addison's.

I have been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, and my main complaints before meds were hypoglycemia and suicidal depression. I started Cortef about a month ago, and oh, what relief!!! I am not exaggerating when I say that the Cortef probably saved my life.

My hypoglycemia, like yours, started out with infrequent episodes about 15 years ago, but by the time I got into the right doctor about 3 months ago, the episodes were everyday, sometimes several times a day. It was almost as if there was nothing I could eat that would make me feel good. Even my "emergency" food--orange juice, just like you--wasn't working anymore. I got to where I was having anxiety over simply eating because it was pretty much "damned if I do, damned if I don't". It was really awful. And all the doctors ever told me about it was "you need to eat every two hours". Argh!!! :mad:

I also have low progesterone. One reason I mention this is because progesterone also affects your blood sugar. And with you having had "female issues", one thing I would wonder about is your hormone levels.

Something that really helped me with the hypoglycemia is raw adrenal glandulars. The Cortef is working well for that now, but some afternoons I still have to take the glandulars for a little help with the hypo. I know some people have differing opinions on glandulars, but I'm just mentioning this because I was absolutely desperate to get some relief from the hypoglycemia, and this was the only supplement that helped.

Some of your other symptoms sound like thyroid. Do you have any results that you could post on the thyroid board? They're so helpful over there. Sometimes what a doctor considers "normal" results can actually be abnormal for a person and make a person symptomatic.

With the IBS, something that I just thought I'd mention...I too had IBS in my twenties (I'm 32 now). For me, though, once I cut the sugar (not that I avoid it completely, but it's way down from where it once was!) and overeating, the IBS all but disappeared. For example, anytime I head to Macaroni Grill and uh, overindulge, in their bread and pasta, I can pretty much guarantee an IBS episode. :nono: I'm not saying this is what's causing your symptoms, but I just thought it might be worth mentioning.

Have you had your cortisol checked? Your hormones? I would think this would be something that would be top priority for your docs?

I live in Houston, so I could definitely recommend my doctor. She's not an endocrinologist, "just" a family doctor, but she is the first doctor who has actually listened to me and been willing to work [I]with[/I] me (instead of wanting to quickly write a prescription for Prozac!!!! Yes, I've been there too!!!! :mad: ).


Well, I'm sure this post is all over the place! That's one thing the Cortef hasn't completely cured--brain fog!!! I think my thyroid meds need adjusting (have been on thyroid since the birth of my second son)!

Please keep posting and looking for answers. This is a great place to come for help.

Hi Tina,
I just finished reading your letter and I could really feel your pain and frustration.
I was diagnosed with Addison's Disease when I was 19 yrs. old. I'm now 38. It is possible to live a normal healthy long term life with Addison's.
As I was reading about the symptoms you described having, I've had similar symptoms as well. I've listed them below so you can compare them to yours.

[COLOR=Navy]These are some of my early signs before being diagnosed.[/COLOR]

~Rapid weight loss
~tired and sleepy all the time
~No energy
~Skin appears tan as if out in the sun
~Darker pigmentation in areas of the skin usually around the knuckles on the hands, feet, and elbows.
~Low blood pressure along with constant lightheadedness, dizzy and weak.
~Constant vomiting
~Trouble concentrating and difficulty understanding things
~balance or hand eye coordination way off
~salt & sugar cravings
~back, neck, and leg pain

I was first diagnosed with Hypothyroidism but Drs. still had no clue why I was still sick. Then, I had a Doctor who told my parents I was sick because I had mental problems!! AND..that I was either taking drugs or misusing the thyroid medication as a weight loss method!! Can you believe that! This Dr. put me in the hospital and for 3 weeks he kept me doped up on psychotic drugs. Don't ever let a Dr. tell you it's all in your mind ok?! This happens with lupus and chronic fatigue suffers as well.

Tell your Doctor to run a blood test and specifically check your potassium levels as well as your sodium levels. If the blood work show's high potassium in your system..there's a good chance you have Addison's Disease.

Usually thyroid disease (hypo mostly) and diabetes work hand to hand with Addison's disease. The disease is an antibody that's working it's way throughout your body attacking vital organs and shutting them down. Usually starts with the adrenal glands, then to the thyroid (causing the skin darkening and pigmentation), and so on. When it's diagnosed and treated properly, the cycle can be halted. However, there is no cure yet.

If you ever need to talk, please feel free to email me. I'd love to talk to you.

Take Care hun!
Shelly :angel: My email address: [ [b] please carefully review the posting rules - no emails [/b] ]

[b] [ Please read the posting rules which explain that offering or asking off board contact is not permitted. The boards are to be used for on board sharing, only. The email and private message features are turned off so that use of the message boards remain anonymous. The only contact you may make with members is to post on the board. ] [/b]
Hi Tina,

I'm so sorry for your illness and frustration with doctors. They can be a challenge sometimes-so stubbornly not listening to the diagnosis their patients practically lay at their feet. I wanted to mention something you likely already know. If your children have gluten enteropathy...that is an autoimmune disease. Once autoimmune disease is in a family it tends to show up in other people in the same family. Addison's is also an autoimmune disease. You sure sound suspiciously Addisonian with improvement on steroids, too.

I would hold off taking any potassium supplements until seeing what your electrolytes look like on bloodwork. High potassium is a risk of Addison's and it can lead to heart problems.

I am surpirsed at how few gastro specialists know anything about Addison's. My husband has Addison's and just had to have a colonoscopy. I asked his doctor about increasing his Cortef dosing for the procedure (prepping for it involves alot of fluid loss, unfortunately) and he said, "No need". HA! My husband became hypoglycemic and hypotensive immediately after the procedure-he felt horrible. Geesh. We upped his cortef for the day and he is better now.

Please make an appt. with an endocrinologist. Tell them your concerns and ask to be tested for Addison's disease with an ACTH stimulation test. It is easy and cheap. It is so frustrating to be so sure of what is wrong with you but not able to get a doctor to listen.

Good Luck and keep us posted on your progress.

Dear Tina, after reading your letter to the Alzheimer's Board I looked up your other postings.

I am appalled at your lack of medical insurance. What is this country coming to? Am I correct in understanding that you were kicked out of coverage because you were sick too much? That is unacceptable!

Have you spoken to a lawyer? I WOULD try for legal aid assisted lawyer's help if I were you. Medical insurance is THERE because people get sick, not only for healthy people with a cold once a year ... how could you lose coverage? I lived in Europe for 30 years where every tooth cavity was covered and every pill ..if you worked or your husband worked, and all kids under 18 were covered whether anyone worked or not. My ex husband is covered for his whole life although retired, by a special plan for seniors. He is alo an 'expensive' patient, having been on anti cancer drugs, having had operations, heart drugs, etc .. the very idea of kicking him out of the system because he is sick is incredible. Can NOT happen in most other civilized countries.

I advise you to get legal help to be reinstated in a health insurance plan... also investiagte all other possibilites. I recently heard of a pay as you go plan .. not traditional health insurance, you pay a doctor or group of doctors so and so much a month whether sick or well and are then covered by him and his colleagues. Of course I don't know if an endocrinologist is in the group. I believe it was in California.

I have friends from China. Outside of the appalling political system, there are a couple of good things in that country: your doctor's job is to keep you well. You pay a fee for that service. If you get sick, you don't pay until (s)he gets you well. A complete opposite of our way of thinking.

I wish you well. Please let me know what happens, what your diagnosis is. My sister lived with a painful ovarian cyst and it is shrinking now at age 67.


Hi Katalina..and Tina too! Hope things are going better for you today Tina. I've thought about you all day.

Katalina, have any Doctors diagnosed you with Addison's or just hypoglycemia? In my opinion, you have all the signs of full blown Addison's Disease. Like I told Tina, do whatever possible to find a Doctor who will help you because if you don't get on the proper medications, you will eventually go into a crisis. A crisis could mean your life. Also, I said in my earlier post as well....don't let your doctor's make you think your messed up in the head. Addison's is a slow moving illness and many don't even know they've got it until several years later. I was one of those. I was at the top of my game in softball when I was a freshman in high school (15 yrs old), and I wasn't diagnosed until 3 years later. By the time the disease was in full bloom but undiagnosed, I was so sick that I had to drop out of college and give up the softball scholarship. I had all the classic signs but Doctors were uneducated. Finally, I went into a crisis and almost died before they finally came to a diagnosis. It's a scary thing I know.

Katalina, the orange-tan skin you mentioned having...I've got that too. That is a classic sign of Addison's. Do you have any thyroid problems at all?

I hope your feeling better soon and please keep in touch here on the boards.
And by the have such a beautiful name.

We will all get through this one day at a time! :wave:

[COLOR=Indigo]Do people with adrenal insufficiency have long periods of feeling ok (and when I say ok...[/COLOR]

Hey Tina,
I'm glad your feeling a little better. Yes I go through long periods of feeling great! Actually my husband can verify for this...since I'm not working right now due to poor health, I'll go through spurts of energy for several days up to a few weeks and suddenly my home is spotless. He'll come home from work, look around and say "did you have an energy burst today or something?". So yes, that happens...but not often enough for me to be able to go back to work.
About your other question, when you have a low immune system, which you do if you are suffering from adrenal insufficiency, you are probably twice as likely to catch viruses in the air or from other people. The steroids, or cortef, can help to build up the immune system, but if your under any kind of stress...both physically or mentally...and you are with your have an even more chance of picking up viruses. I've stayed at home for a week, never going outside once...and still caught the flu. It's going to happen. I'm sorry.

Keep me posted on how your doing ok? If you ever need help, please let me know.

Take Care hun, Shelly

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