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Addison's Disease Message Board

Addison's Disease Board Index

Hi, Kelly!

Was just looking at your labs, and wondered exactly what your symptoms are? Will look further back on the board to see if you've listed them anywhere before! Am I right in understanding you have just gone through the loss of miscarriage? If so, I send my sympathy. I lost a child after carrying him/her for 9 weeks only, and it was hard. After the loss, I seemed to take longer to get back to "normal" emotionally than after I'd had my babies. The hormones didn't seem to gradually taper off. My theory was that they did a massive, immediate "dump" into my system. It was quite easy for me to cry at the smallest things, and I don't generally feel comfortable crying in public!

Now on to your labs -- I am certainly not an authority, but I would wonder about your pituitary gland in causation of any symptoms. The reason I say this is that though your cortisol was rather low at 14 --(IF IT WAS A MORNING CORTISOL DRAW), your ACTH did not spike higher to try to convince the adrenal glands to put out more cortisol! The ACTH comes from the pituitary, and should be on the HIGH side if your body isn't getting enough cortisol. If it isn't, you need to question the health of your pituitary gland. You might test for what is called secondary adrenal insufficiency, due to the malfunctioning of the pituitary. It IS hard to diagnosis adrenal problems with labs alone, but there ARE some telltale labs. The best is the ACTH stimulation test or the low dose ACTH stim test. When they do this test, they take a morning cortisol measurement at as close to 8:00 a.m. as possible (this is when your cortisol should be at its highest). Next they give you an injection of a substance that is similar to the body's ACTH, to see whether your adrenal glands will react by giving forth more cortisol, as "asked" to do by this chemical. What you should see is a morning, fasting cortisol in range (somewhere in the 20's is best). After 30 min. they measure the cortisol again through the blood, and finally after 60 min. again. At the end of 60 min. your cortisol should have [U]DOUBLED[/U] if your adrenal glands are normal. But this just says the ADRENAL GLANDS are working, if it goes this way!! It doesn't tell you whether they pituitary gland is working! They should [I]also[/I] get an ACTH plasma level before they begin the test, and measure of renin and aldosterone levels. For the renin test, you should lie down for 30 min. before they take your blood. Low [B]aldosterone[/B] can be an indicator of waning adrenal glands, as well, as IT is also made in the adrenal gland, in the same zone the cortisol is produced in (same area of the gland). Dr. F (in LA) seems to feel renin and aldosterone are great indicators of adrenal distress! Also, ask for your potassium and sodium, fasting blood sugar, and your blood pressure lying down [I]and[/I] standing up for 5 min. to be measured. Many times your potassium and sodium levels will look normal, even WITH adrenal problems, but if yours DON'T, you'll have another clue! When standing up, BP's miight fall, while pulse goes up (which would indicate postural hypotension, another symptom of adrenal insuf.). Low fasting blood sugars are another sign. Also, low, low resting BP's are a symptom of adrenal problems.

Hope this has helped answer your questions a bit. If not, please write back!
~ :wave: Tracy

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