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Addison's Disease Message Board

Addison's Disease Board Index

[QUOTE=kelley_bsb]So what do I do? Just call up my doctor and ask that they do more bloodwork? [/QUOTE]

1. Below is a list of the most common symptoms of adrenal insufficiency (AS). Check off the ones you have and provide details (how long a problem, how severe, when does it happen, how often this week...don't over state the situation because it will just make doctors more skeptical). Then take the list to the doc and say I'm concern because I have so many of these symptoms. Remember you won't have all symptoms or all the time, just most of them most of the time. In my case, I felt absolute great some days but other days I could hardly get out of bed. I blamed my wife, my job, my dog, my family, every one and every thing, except of course me! If you watch carefully, you feel worse after days of maximum stress (illness, physical activity, mental stress).

Weight loss
Muscle weakness
Low blood pressure,
Orthostatic hypotension (lower standing blood pressure)
Mood changes
Weight loss/gain
Anorexia (appetite loss)
Craving salty foods
Irregular menstrual periods
Underarm hair loss
Excessive sweating
Morning back pain that slowly goes away through the day
Dificulty waking up in the morning and feeling fatigued even after a long sleep

2. ACTH Stimulation Test

This is the most specific test for diagnosing AS. In this test, blood cortisol, urine cortisol, or both are measured before and after a synthetic form of ACTH is given by injection. The normal response after an injection of ACTH is a rise in blood and urine cortisol levels. People with either form of adrenal insufficiency respond poorly or do not respond at all.

You can't diagnose AS by an ordinary blood test for cortisol, although that's the first test doctors will do because it's cheap. In my case I always had normal cortisol levels but my adrenal reserve was zero, so when I was feeling good, things were great, but when I got sick or stressed, things got very bad. Only a stimulation test can detect AS.

3. Keep a daily diary of how you feel, physical symptoms and your mood. Only then will you be able to convince most doctors you are serious.

4. Remember, many other diseases also have many of these symptoms so be open minded. Addison's is rare, so it's unlikely you have it. But if you do, it can be very hard to diagnose because of the weird list of symptoms.

5. Adrenal insufficiency is made worse by low thyroid. You mentioned having you thyroid checked, I suggest having it checked again. Also, if you are having any fluid leaking from your breasts or breast tenderness, you need to have a blood test for prolactin (sometimes associated with adrenal insufficency).

6. If you do have AS you can suddenly go into shock, which is a life threatening situation for someone withl AS. Look up the symptoms of an Addison's Crisis, and if you suddenly have those symptoms, get to a hospital. Many AS people have died from a lack of prompt action. An Addison's crisis is so rare that most doctors don't think of it or even remember it from their school days, so don't count on your doctor to recognize what is going on.

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