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Addison's Disease Message Board

Addison's Disease Board Index

From what I have researched, adrenal insufficiency may be the early stages of Addison's Disease. Adrenal insufficiency, so I've read, is Adrenal Exhaustion in its last stages; high cotisol levels begin to drop to cortisol levels that are too low. But, if standard medical tests often show "normal" cortisol levels when in fact cortisol levels are way too low, how do I know where I'm at? How do I know that I'm not in the Adrenal Exhaustion stage where my cortisol is actually too high instead of the stage where the adrenals produce insufficient steroids and cortisol levels are low? I have no insurance and am having SUCH a problem getting ANY treatment anywhere at all. I even tried the ER, but since my vitals were still okay, they refused to treat me or even consider that I possibly have Addison's or adrenal insufficiency. My symptoms are that of Addison's, minus the vomiting. I have the extreme weakness, constant low blood pressure, horrible fatigue, hyperpigmentation (my face tans dark during stress), headaches, and nausea. What kills me the most though is my profound inability to deal with ANY, ANY, ANY stress whatsoever. I have had unrelenting stress almost my entire life and now I believe I'm experiencing some sort of autoimmune problem/virus due to my symptoms, and am REALLY having a VERY hard time dealing with life due to my symptoms. I am NOT depressed; when I'm not feeling my symptoms at their most intense, I'm the happiest person in the World. Anyway, anytime something moderately stressful in my life occurs, I get a terrible headache, neckache, severe backache, joint pain in my fingers and all over my body, nausea, weakness, and fatigue. It's so bad that I feel like I'm going to die. I don't recover for at least 24 hours or more. Does anyone deal with this/has anyone else ever dealt with this? I'm really having a hard time. Oh, but back to my original question:) Although I'm very thin, I DO have somewhat of a large abdomen and VERY thin arms and legs, which is consistent with HIGH cortisol levels. If standard doctor interpretation of cortisol tests if off, how will I know if I have Adrenal Fatigue or Adrenal insufficiency/Addison's?

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