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Addison's Disease Message Board

Addison's Disease Board Index


We are in the United States. About a month ago, my 22-year old son was very ill and without health insurance, so he did not want to go to the hospital. We finally convinced him and after blood testing he was immediately hospitalized because his sodium levels were abnormally low and his potassium levels were high and he was experiencing orthostatic hypotension (when he stood up he became very dizzy because his heart rate elevated, but his blood pressure dropped significantly).

These are ALL symptoms of an "adrenal crisis," which untreated can be life threatening. Since my son did not want to seek medical help, I specifically asked every one of his doctors "How serious was this?" They ALL replied, "very serious; untreated it could be fatal."

I am somewhat confused why no one has mentioned this in this thread.

(1) A simple blood test can confirm if your sodium and potassium levels are abnormal and

(2) A blood pressure comparision lying down and then after standing can confirm if you are experiencing orthostatic hypotension. These can easily be performed in an emergency room.

Acute adrenal crisis is a life-threatening condition that occurs when there is not enough cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands.

In adrenal crisis, patients need an immediate injection of hydrocortisone through a vein. or muscle (intramuscular). Also, stabilization of your sodium and potassium levels should be done slowly to prevent brain swelling.

You will need to go to the hospital for treatment and monitoring. If infection caused the crisis, you may need antibiotic therapy.

My son has also been treated for deer tick bites in the past. His Lyme test was negative, but there can be false negatives. In addition, he has had recurrent candida (yeast) skin infections. He had been on Nystatin. And, he was exposed to chemicals at work and was under a lot of personal stress.

We are still trying to sort this all out, but I have learned a lot. I am the sort of person who researches these things thoroughly, when they occur. Maybe too much. I found this forum while looking for natural remedies, as I am not sure about the glucocorticoids (steriods) long term effects. He is presently on hydrocortisone and fludocortisone (low doses). My son is feeling much better, but not "himself."

Just because someone has an "adrenal crisis" does not necessarily mean they have Addison's disease. BUT, a crisis can be the beginning of this disease, whether caused by heriditary reasons (autoimmune disorders) or caused by other "events" such as a virus, etc.

I am sorry that this is so long, but I felt it necessary to make sure you understand the importance for you to get treatment AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.....even if you have to walk into an emergency room and tell them that you have Addisons and you are in an adrenal crisis. I say this, because I saw no evidence in this thread that you are on medications for Addison's disease (which should include replacement of the cortisol that your adrenal glands are not producing).

If you have any family or friends who can read this and help you, PLEASE share this with them. Persons in "adrenal crisis" or who have untreated Addison's disease are also affected psychologically -- their blood chemistry is so dangerously imbalanced these patients are unable to care for themselves or make important correct decisions. They are very confused, which appears to be the case, here. If you don't have anyone close, then please just go to the emergency room, as someone previously suggested. Your very life may be in danger.

I hope that you are able to read this and I pray that you are getting medical help, as I know what this did to my son and I know how close we came to losing him.

PLEASE let us know how you are doing and if you have any further questions, I will certainly try to answer them.


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