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Addison's Disease Message Board

Addison's Disease Board Index

Well then, that explains why there is less on adrenal exhaustion on this board than I was hoping for - and that makes sense, I think. Let's identify this disorder, for purposes of this post, as secondary hypoadrenia, in which full recovery is possible. Because adrenal exhaustion is a fairly common secondary condition to hypothyroidism, you will find some information, though limited, on that board.

Ok, I'm not the most knowledgeable, but I'll attempt to explain a little more, on top of Tracy's post, if that's ok.

In adrenal exhaustion, typically, the adrenals have been working over-time for years due to chronic stress - stress, meaning mental/emotional, allergies, illness, surgery, etc.... not just mental/emotional. The adrenals can only do this for so long, before they get exhausted. There is also some evidence that they can sort of get stuck in a hypo state from this exhaustion. Generally (I think) it is possible to recover from this exhaustive state, over the course of several months to a few years, give the right environment, nutrition, stress reduction, illness and allergy reduction, etc.

Because adrenal exhaustion is not full-blown adrenal failure, the testing needs to be more sensitive. A single blood test, or a 24 hour urine collection is not suitable to diagnose adrenal exhaustion. The best method for this is the 4 collection saliva test, taken over the course of one day, at morning, noon, evening and midnight. This will show how your cortisol output compares to what is normal for that time of the day. The blood or urine test above, will only average the day out. It is common with this disorder, to have normal output in the morning and midnight, for example, and low output during the day.

I would first, however, have some of the other tests Tracy mentions, to rule out other causes. The ACTH stimulation test, for example. Most of these tests are not uncomfortable, and are easy to have done.

I would also suggest having your thyroid hormones testes. Generally only TSH is tested. This is a useful screening test, but inadequate if you do have hypothyroidism. If so, you will need free T3 and free T4 (not the same as total T3 and total T4), and also TPO and TG antibodies (but this isn't the thyroid forum is it?).

How that helps .... my apologies in advance, on my lack of full adrenal knowledge.

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