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Addison's Disease Message Board

Addison's Disease Board Index


I was tested for various things because of symptoms I have been having. The test results show I have Thyroid Antibodies, but normal TSH (1.407), T3(3.3), and T4 (1.18). I tested borderline ANA 1:80 , low vit. D, moderate anemia, a ferritin level of 2. I am interested in anyone's opinion on why my doctor thinks my cortisol and DHEA levels are too low when they fall into the normal range. She thinks they should have been higher since I was just stuck by a needle to take the blood. Any opinions on this theory? Here are my results:

Cortisol - 7.7 (4.3 - 22.4 normal range)

DHEA Sulfate - 37 (32-240 normal range)

Any help would be appreciated.
hi, kittykitty!

I think the answer to your question lies in understanding what is meant by the term "normal range." I believe that there is a general definition, yet different tests for certain substances use varying types of ranges.

The general definition of a range (in lab tests) is the difference between the lowest and highest numerical values in a given test population. In other words, the lowest recorded score and the highest recorded score.

Scoring within the "range" certainly does not mean that your levels are "normal" for you. One has to have an idea of what is normal for each individual. This takes an effort beyond just considering whether one's levels are within/outside the accepted "normal range."

I believe a good doctor takes many factors into consideration for each individual patient. The main goal here is to get an idea of what the normal level is for that individual.

For one thing, they look at the patient's specific level of one chemical in comparison to other chemicals in the body. Often, it is the ratio of one substance with another that is most important, or telling. Sometimes doctors can figure out what their patient's normal level is within a given range by viewing past lab tests. They have to look at age, sex, lifestyle, and a slue of other details. But the most important thing for them to look at is SYMPTOMS. I learned that last one from my own doctor. This means they have to listen to you and keenly observe. A lazy or less-informed doctor just looks at the ranges.

It sounds like your doctor is on the right track, to me.

PS (yes, doctors can be less-informed. I'm being kind...)

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