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Addison's Disease Message Board


Addison's Disease Board Index


Is this addison's?
Jul 6, 2008
Hi folks,
Thank you for reading this. I have been suffering for so long, and am posting on boards like these as a last resort. I am a 37 year old male, formerly very vital, and now am experiencing non-specific symptoms so severe that I feel that if they persist, I'll have to kill myself to save the wife and daughter I love so much.

As you read this, please keep the following in mind: I've been to an endocrineologist and had my thyroid x-rayed, with no abnormalities. Blood tests also showed no serious abnormalities, other than low testosterone. But the feedback I've gotten on my symptoms still points to the issue being with my thyroid or adrenals.

Today, my most prevalent symptoms are these: disorientation, brain fog, easily overwhelmed, fatigue, persistent infections, low immune function, most energetic in the evening, terrible time getting out of bed in the morning, sore throats, vomiting sensation when I exercise, social isolation, trouble concentrating, impaired vision, trouble speaking, forgetting names

I'll give you an overview of my health history. A lot of it probably does not apply, but you never know what will set something off in someone's mind:


*About 7 years ago, I had a very sudden plunge in testosterone levels. As in, one day I was totally functional sexually, and weeks later I had total ED. Tests revealed a very low testosterone level. I took creams for the issue, which worked intermittently. My levels were all over the place, and ultimately I got off the cream, as my wife and I were trying to have a child.

*About four years ago, I started having an overwhelming sensation that I was going to throw up when I exercised. When I exerted myself in any way, I would become overwhelmed with nausea. As time went on, less and less activity would make me feel this thickness in my throat, like I was going to throw up. I even went to the emergency room a couple of times.

*Around this time, I also started having trouble reading. My reading comprehension started getting really bad. At this time, what had been a steel-trap mind was overcome with brain fog. I am a writer and editor, and found it brutally hard to do my job. I also became really lethargic.

*About 3 years ago, I started feeling dizzy. I'd get "sensory overload" very quickly, very overcome with a lot of noises and stimuli all around me. I've found that when I step in and out of lighted rooms, or when things get quiet and noisy, I get overwhelmed. Also when I have to do a lot of turning and positional changes, things get weird.

*A couple of years ago, I had surgery to correct a deviated septum. I've always had bad sinuses. The septum ultimately returned to its original state, and I still suffer from it. I have difficulty sleeping through the night, and snore.

*Along with the bad sinuses has come sore throats. I recently had a sore throat that must've lasted for four months and withstood about five rounds of antibiotics. Finally, steroids got the swelling down. But when I get these sore throats, I have strong lymphatic reactions and general flu-like symptoms.

*Today, brain fog is at an all-time high. My reaction times have slowed incredibly. My thoughts have been reduced to pure survival instinct. All I think about is myself, and getting through minute to minute. My memory is totally shot, and I have terrible recall. I have become incredibly isolated and resist socializing, as when I'm in a social environment, I get confused, overstimulated, disoriented, etc. I know the tendency is to say this is mental, but I assure you, it is biological/chemical. I was a great athlete, and now can do next to nothing.

*Tests have revealed almost nothing. Blood tests, MRIs, MRAs, heart workups, etc., have all shown nothing. The only constant has been low testosterone. When I get on testosterone treatment, though, the ED goes away and levels go back to normal, but the other symptoms persist.

*One thing that I think might be revealing is that when I drink the slightest bit of alcohol, my brain is totally overcome. The same goes for caffeine or energy drinks. I'm just knocked sideways. I have taken anti-depressants and
anti-anxiety meds, and they do the same thing. I end up being debilitated, and feel like I'm looking at life through a small window.

*My symptoms are at their worst in the morning, and I have the most difficulty after getting out of the shower.

*To that end, I am very sensitive to hot and cold. I'm the first guy to feel cold in a room. Likewise, when I get warm, I also feel badly, and am more prone to that throwing-up sensation.

*When I go the doctor, my body temperature is generally very low, like around 95 or 96 degrees. My blood pressure is generally on the low side.

*Today, my most prevalent symptoms are these: disorientation, brain fog, easily overwhelmed, fatigue, persistent infections, low immune function, most energetic in the evening, terrible time getting out of bed in the morning, sore throats, vomiting sensation when I exercise, social isolation, trouble concentrating, impaired vision, trouble speaking, forgetting names.

*The only other things I might throw in are that I've had a lot of knee surgeries (around 13), and a few bouts of depression starting in my early 20s, for which I have taken anti-depressants on and off. (I hesitate to mention this, because doctors often use it as a go-to when they can't figure out what's wrong with me. I can't tell you how many times I've been told this is anxiety related. I assure you, that is not the case. The only thing making me anxious is feeling this way.)

In summary, in about three years, I have gone from being a vibrant, athletic, funny, smart guy, to basically being a collection of symptoms and a shadow of a person. I have difficulty working, and can barely socialize. I'm a far, far cry from the husband, father and provider I should be. I feel like if I can't get over this, I should just get myself out of the way so I don't hold my family back. We've spent thousands and thousands of dollars on tests and doctors (including an $8,000 MRI my insurance ended up not covering), and I don't know what to do. I'm a good guy; I only want to take care of my family. I've never done a single drug; have barely ingested alcohol. I've lived a clean, healthy life. I live in Monterey County, Calif., so there are few pollutants here, and I am a writer, so I'm not in an unhealthy work environment.

Please help me. I am really suffering. I'm at a weird point where I'd love it if someone said that I have MS, diabetes or something else, just so I'll know. But so far, nothing has come up on tests. I'm reluctant to spend a lot of money going to balance clinics, inner-ear places or anything like that, mostly because of how overwhelmed I feel when I take stimulants, and because of the brain fog I have 100 percent of the day. This makes me feel like it must be something else.

Please let me know your thoughts.
I am by no means an expert in anything medical, so I can't say what I suspect you do or do not have, I can only say I, too, have experienced some of the same things and no one has figured it out yet..so I can sympathize. The funny thing is you mentioned both brain fog (which I have all the time now) and the fact that you get disoriented and feel weird when you turn around, I get that and its just recent. I used to be a dancer so spinning was never an issue, I never got dizzy in the least, but now if I so much as spin my daughter around once I feel sooooo weird, it isn't quite dizzy, but more of disoriented. Also, I took her on a carousel recently and instantly felt so nauseous and dizzy that I literally wanted to jump off but obviously couldn't. I went to an ENT and he said my ears looked fine and that when some people get older they don't tolerate motion as well as they used to...I am 26, by no means "older." Anyway, I also have the temperature thing, feeling really hot, really cold, worse after a hot shower or spa, etc. so my primary suspected MS and sent me to a neuro who wanted some additional tests run but I never followed through with them, I guess I am not helping myself by doing so, but being a stay at home mom, its hard to just run out to appointment after appointment. I hope you get things figured out soon, I really sympathize with you :(
To me those symtoms don't sound like addisons, luckily, theres so much more to addisons. I have it and know all the symtoms to it, it's extremly rare, it sounds like you might have something else going on, but hang in there don't let it get you down. Here are some very strong symtoms to look out for for addisons, skin darker around your joints like your knuckles, and your moles are darker than usual. Some of your symtoms have the same as addisons but here's some that might help a little to pin point it. Good luck and get feeling better. Did your indo test you for addisons yet?
What thyroid tests were run and was IGF-1 run? Lack of socialization points to growth hormone.
Your symptoms are vague, but that often points to something pituitary and 40% of pituitary tumors do not show up on films. They probably did not check all your pituitary hormones. If one hormone is off, well, odds are, others are as the whole thing is a system but some/most docs tend not to think of it since testosterone converts from estrogen (was that tested?) and from DHEA sulfate (was tested?) and signaled from the pituitary (FH and LH - were those tested?). If those are not on your list, then your docs did not do a complete job - but thyroid and cortisol and other things will influence testosterone too.
I understand where you are coming from - I had cyclical cushings so my tests were largely normal but I was sure sick.
I would post any test results, esp endocrine related, here and on the thyroid board. Current medical literature is populated by newer conclusions about what ranges reflect endocrine dysfunction (as in "norm" range). Sometimes, drs use older ranges (esp. thyroid) or aren't looking for partial AI (or impaired HPA axis function) in the adrenal area. Additionally, sex hormone deficiencies can be important too. It is important to look at the entire endocrine system, as rumpled indicates by the tests she has suggested as important.





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