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Addison's Disease Message Board

Addison's Disease Board Index, I went to see the Endocrinologist for the first time on 5.20 for symptoms that I have been having for 30 years, but for which I have never seen a doctor before. So you might say I have an "extensive" history with Adrenal Crisis symptoms, including and especially fainting spells and chronic fatigue. These symptoms have become so acute in the last 2 years that they are a hazard to my daily life.

I didn't know you could die of the Adrenal Crisis until this last Easter on 4.01, when I had one during Easter Mass (for the second Easter in a row) and had to leave (very frustrating) before communion!! (grrrr). They called an ambulance and I wouldn't go with the ambulance because I was so embarrassed. But I was in extreme pain and vomited (which I don't usually do) and things really seem to be getting worse. When I got home I googled it and found out it was a medical emergency.

Had another Adrenal Crisis in the middle of the night on 5.13 from 3:45 am to 5:15 am. This one wasn't with fainting, since I was already in bed, but it was excruciatingly painful. I was in the fetal position for quite some time. My cats were very alarmed. Again, didn't call the Ambulance because : what can they do? They don't know whats wrong with me (they never do) and all the stress makes everything worse. I found out later, that your Cortisol is released at 4am, so maybe that explains it.

For the last 5-6 years I have had these Adrenal Crisis about every 6 weeks during the summer, with much higher incidence during the very hot months like July. I always assumed they were caused by heat, but found out recently they could be related to dehydration. I have been seeing an Acupuncturist for about 4 months for fibromyalgia symptoms, which helps but evidently cant prevent the "Crisis".

So, I saw the DR on 5.20 and told him the whole story along with a 4 page letter I had already prepared about herbal supplements I take and the lengthy history I have of these fainting spells. He ordered blood tests. I took an 8 AM cortisol test along with a blood panel.

Got the blood tests back and the DR has proscribed Synthroid.

I should also mention that my mother had her Thyroid removed when I was about 15 yrs old, for benign nodules. She has never had a fainting spell in her life and never had any thyroid symptoms either. They discovered the problem during a routine test. Since she no longer has a Thyroid, she takes Synthroid, herself, and was "very relieved" when I told her about it, jumping immidiatly to the conclusion that this solves everything. (which I doubt)

I will list my test results.

T4 free direct : 1.11 , normal range .82-1.77, unit ng/dl

TSH : 3.400 , normal range .450-4.500 , unit uIU/ml

BUN : 11, normal range 6-24

Creatinine Serum : 0.87 , normal range 0.57 - 1.00

BUN/ Creatinine Ratio : 13 , normal range 9-23

Sodium Serum : 140 , normal range 134-144

Potassium Serum : 3.7, normal range 3.5-5.2

Calcium Serum : 9.1 , normal range 8.7-10.2

Hemoglobin : 12.7 , normal range 11.1-15.9

Hemocrit : 38.8 , normal range 34.0-46.6

Cortisol--AM : 26.1, normal range 6.2-19.4


Ok, so I didn't hear back from the DR's office for about a week and started to wonder if I should be writing a will or something, so if I die of an Adrenal Crisis my mom wont give away all my stuff to charity and have my cats put to sleep ........(she is kind of a witch )

Finally I started calling the DR's office and making a pest of myself and the nurse told me that my "TSH is low" and I would be getting Synthroid. I should take it for 6 weeks then come back for more tests.

So far I have not picked it up at the pharmacy and I am highly dubious of the whole thing. The DR's office seems very inept to me. They lost some of my paperwork at the very beginning and I always feel like I am being stampeded by a herd of elephants when I try to talk to anyone on the phone. Thank heavens they emailed me the test results, which is helpful.

OK: so here's the thing. I am still having symptoms. I have lower back pain, to the point I cant bend over and touch my toes. I cant get out of bed at all without my herbal supplements. I have diarrhea. Stress makes me so sleepy that I have to take 2 hour naps, sometimes as many as 3 a day. My theory about why I have fainted / had an Adrenal Crisis on 2 successive Easter Sundays, is that Easter is the one Mass of the whole year that they have at the crack of Dawn. Otherwise, I go to the 5 pm Mass. The early morning situation seems to precipitate an immediate crisis, usually within 10 min of the start of Mass.

I do not really see that I have a low TSH from the lab tests. The Cortisol appears excessively high. This seems out of character for my problems.........

I have developed a theory that I have secondary Addison's caused by a faulty Pituitary ; which is effecting both the Thyroid TSH and my Adrenals. (perhaps randomly)

It stands to reason that the Cortisol must fluctuate, ergo: the only way to catch the problem is to take my blood during a crisis. Right? Or, what about this Pituitary Test? Should I suggest the DR give me that? They use that to determine Secondary Addisons, right?

The Dr told me that if the Cortisol didn't reflect Addisons, then there must be some other cause.
Also: why do you suppose the TSH is considered "low", if it is exactly normal within the normal limits stated?

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