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    Old 05-17-2006, 08:08 PM   #1
    lucky charms
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    addison question

    When one is diagnosed with Addisons, generally what would the cortisol level be? Can you have this disease with normal cortisol levels? or is it diagnosed by physical findings/symptoms?
    Sorry for all the questions despite the numerous studies im still in the dark about this disease.. seems like everyone is just being diagnosed by symptoms Take Care

    Last edited by lucky charms; 05-17-2006 at 08:19 PM.

     
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    Old 05-28-2006, 01:57 AM   #2
    orion
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    Re: addison question

    To be diagnosed you must have a provocative test that stimulates ur adrenal glands to produce cortisol. If you fail to produce significant additional cortisol after stimulation then you have adrenal insufficiency. If the source of your insufficiency is your adrenal glands then you have primary adrenal insufficiency which is Addison's disease. If the source is your pitutiary gland you have secondary adrenal insufficiency.

    You can not diagnose any but the most severe adrenal insufficiency problems from blood cortisol or urine cortisol levels.

    Normally symptoms are the reason someone is given the provocative tests but symptoms alone are not reliable because many diseases look like Addison's. This is the reason Addison's is so hard to diagnose til it has progressed a fair ways.

    Last edited by orion; 05-28-2006 at 01:59 AM.

     
    Old 05-28-2006, 11:36 PM   #3
    grinchydizz
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    Re: addison question

    Hi Lucky charms,
    I was wondering the same about cortisol levels, because my daughter had that test done twice, the first time her level was low, the second time it was normal. Now Im thinking the dr.s office doesnt know much about addisons, because they actually said, and I quote, "her problem doesnt seem to be endo related because sugar and gatorade would have resolved those symptoms"..... because I told them that my daughter doesnt feel better even after I have offered her some gatorade, and something to eat, she still has symptoms.... so, we are at a loss.... hope you get help...good luck..

     
    Old 06-06-2006, 01:17 PM   #4
    mainecoon66
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    Re: addison question

    Hi Lucky Charms,
    I was recently diagnosed with Addison's. I have been looking for a diagnosis for a long time and finally ended up going to the University hospital near me - dr's there were great! Anyway, They did several tests, including 2 ACTH stim tests. (like Orion mentioned) The second ACTH test was more sensitive - my understanding is that they give you a lower level of ACTH and see how your adrenals react by measuring cortisol levels. My test came back positive i.e. my cortisol level was too low.

    Also, my mom has Addison's and has found a great support group. She told me about another test. It tests for the anti-body that destroys your adrenal glands in the case of primary auto-immune Addison's. This anti-body is called 21-hydroxylase. I don't know if you have heard of Hashimoto's? - a similar disease where anti-bodies are produced because of auto-immune thyroid disease. The good thing about this test is if you have the anti-bodies, my understanding is that you are likely to get full-blown Addison's at some point, but at least can be aware and pro-active in monitoring symptoms and treatment.

    Anyway, to sum it up, the tests that helped me get a definitive diagnosis were ACTH stim test (both normal and sensitive), 21-hydroxlyase level, plasma-renin level, aldosterone level.

    I hope this helps. It seems to me that the problem is that this disease is so rare that it's hard to find dr's who really know about it. I am so fortunate to have my mom as a resource. I'm also so glad to have found this website - I just joined but am learning so much.

    Best of luck in finding some answers!

     
    Old 06-07-2006, 02:53 PM   #5
    lucky charms
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    Re: addison question

    Hi Maine hope you are doing well...
    Yes Ive heard of Hashis thats what im battling with right now..I have trouble tolerating the thyroid meds so thats one of the reason Im asking about addisons and the 2nd one is my blood cortisol levels are just fine however my saliva test show that they are stressed about badly..So thats why Im just in the dark...So I guess the only postive way to check them out is via ACTH stim tests or the anti body cout like you had mentioned..
    Thank you so much for your information.. Take Care

    Oh before i forget what was a few of your symptoms ?

     
    Old 06-18-2006, 01:57 PM   #6
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    Re: addison question

    i had a weird cortisone reading im a hashi! and i have very heavy periods and i feel drained head rushes lead legs and sometimes i feel like i have adrenalin rushes it starts with me feeling red in face, and my senses feel more aware and i can feel the adrenalin in my bellie but they seem like attavks but most of the time i feel heavy please someone help and let me know the symptoms of addisons and could i have it/ i hear cortisone is to be avoided at 36! is there something i could eat to help or do you have to take meds i hope somebody could clear a few things up for me as my blood loss is causing low iron help im from the uk, and the endo has got rid of me he gave me 3 urines to do and i lost them and ive had it niow as he wont see me again but i was sent to him cos of a weird adrenal reading its hard o get anything in the uk lots of love from katxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx x x

     
    Old 06-18-2006, 08:11 PM   #7
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    Re: addison question

    pursie, Here is some info that may help you. You need to find out if you have addisons. Have the ACTH test done. It should be done in the morning.


    Symptoms
    The symptoms of adrenal insufficiency usually begin gradually. Chronic, worsening fatigue and muscle weakness, loss of appetite, and weight loss are characteristic of the disease. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea occur in about 50 percent of cases. Blood pressure is low and falls further when standing, causing dizziness or fainting. Skin changes also are common in Addison's disease, with areas of hyperpigmentation, or dark tanning, covering exposed and nonexposed parts of the body. This darkening of the skin is most visible on scars; skin folds; pressure points such as the elbows, knees, knuckles, and toes; lips; and mucous membranes.

    Addison's disease can cause irritability and depression. Because of salt loss, a craving for salty foods also is common. Hypoglycemia, or low blood glucose, is more severe in children than in adults. In women, menstrual periods may become irregular or stop.

    Because the symptoms progress slowly, they are usually ignored until a stressful event like an illness or an accident causes them to become worse. This is called an addisonian crisis, or acute adrenal insufficiency. In most cases, symptoms are severe enough that patients seek medical treatment before a crisis occurs. However, in about 25 percent of patients, symptoms first appear during an addisonian crisis.

    Symptoms of an addisonian crisis include sudden penetrating pain in the lower back, abdomen, or legs; severe vomiting and diarrhea, followed by dehydration; low blood pressure; and loss of consciousness. Left untreated, an addisonian crisis can be fatal.

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    Diagnosis
    In its early stages, adrenal insufficiency can be difficult to diagnose. A review of a patient's medical history based on the symptoms, especially the dark tanning of the skin, will lead a doctor to suspect Addison's disease.

    A diagnosis of Addison's disease is made by biochemical laboratory tests. The aim of these tests is first to determine whether there are insufficient levels of cortisol and then to establish the cause. X-ray exams of the adrenal and pituitary glands also are useful in helping to establish the cause.


    ACTH Stimulation Test
    This is the most specific test for diagnosing Addison's disease. In this test, blood cortisol, urine cortisol, or both are measured before and after a synthetic form of ACTH is given by injection. In the so-called short, or rapid, ACTH test, measurement of cortisol in blood is repeated 30 to 60 minutes after an intravenous ACTH injection. The normal response after an injection of ACTH is a rise in blood and urine cortisol levels. Patients with either form of adrenal insufficiency respond poorly or do not respond at all.

     
    Old 06-22-2006, 02:06 AM   #8
    mainecoon66
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    Re: addison question

    Hi Lucky,
    Sorry it's taken me a while to respond - I've been away for a few days. Some of my symptoms were - fatigue (big time!), nausea, low blood pressure, shoulder and neck aches, dizziness upon standing, muscle cramps, craving salt. I also had periods of a few days where I would get worse. At the end I was too tired to eat. Other common symptoms are - getting a tan when you haven't been sunbathing, losing weight.

    I would definitely try and find a knowledgable endocrinologist and get some definitive tests done.

    I hope you feel better. Take care,
    Maine

     
    Old 06-28-2006, 02:35 PM   #9
    Shayla25
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    Re: addison question

    I have Hashimoto's and my endocrinologist just gave me the ACTH test. I don't really have any of the symptoms of Addison's, but he said after you have one auto-immune disease you're likely to develop another.

    What are the symptoms you guys are having so I can know if I have the same thing?

    (Also, that test wasn't fun at all. I felt like a pin cushion, and my veins feel like they're going to collapse!)

     
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