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Addison's Disease Message Board

Addison's Disease Board Index

Okay you wanted to know the difference between primary and secondary adrenal dysfunction. I have primary adrenal insufficiency. My pituitary is screaming for more from my adrenals and my adrenals are on a permanent vacation.

How does one tell?
ACTH is the pituitary's call for the adrenal glands to produce cortisol
Cortisol is the T4 to t3 conversion suppressant in the liver.. it is also a stress hormone. Too much and you have Cushings issues. Too little and you have Addison's/adrenal insufficiency.

If you are low in ACTH and low in cortisol... this is secondary insufficiency, if ACTH supplementation causes the adrenals to produce more cortisol. If adding ACTH doesn't increase cortisol.. you are looking at primary autoimmune polyglandular issues and both the pituitary and adrenals are kaput.

If you are high in ACTH and low in cortisol.. then the pituitary is doing its job there.. but the adrenals are not cooperating. Primary insufficiency


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