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cossette2 08-28-2008 10:38 PM

dark skin pigment with addisons
something has been on my mind for quite a while and i'd like to get your input.
the one and only endo we have in our city says 2 things to prove that i don't have an adrenal problem:
1. adrenals and thyroid are not at all connected. they are glands that work separately. (by the way i am hypo with lots of adrenal symptoms)
2. oneof the ways to prove that i dont have adrenal problems is i dont have dark put it in his words, i, being caucasian, will look like a mexican.

so, now i ask you on the board, how accurate is that info? im guessing it's a little askew, but after all im not an endo and dont know as much as they do :D......are there cases where one will have severe adrenal fatigue and not have brown skin? as for the first statement ive quoted, im thinking he's way off the mark, but i would just like to hear it from you all.

thanks so much

rumpled 08-29-2008 08:41 AM

Re: dark skin pigment with addisons
Pretty much all the endocrine system (it is a system!!!) works together in some fashion or another and I know that when I adjust one me (I am panhypopit and rely entirely on meds for most of my hormones), I have to adjust others. MY doc knows this.

When I had the pit problem, my skin did not show up so bad... but now I am dark but no means um, mexican. I am more spotty. But I know others with high ACTH and we all show it in different ways. It looks like your doc is looking in a book, at one pic, and deriving all his experience from that. Yeah, it does not work that way.

However, fatigue is one of those symptoms that is very non-specific so it can belong to many disorders. How is your iron - too high - too low? Vitamin D? Thyroid - has all of it been tested not just TSH? There are so many many things that can cause fatigue that until all that can be ruled out, adrenals can be a factor, but you need to look at the rest of the picture too.

My advice, move on to an experienced doctor, please!

gettin' better 08-29-2008 01:15 PM

Re: dark skin pigment with addisons
I agree with rumpled. I was in the hospital with an Addison's crisis and never had ANY dark patches on my skin! My underlying problem is my pituitary gland, which affects both the thyroid and the adrenals. Find another doctor!

chris14 08-30-2008 10:00 PM

Re: dark skin pigment with addisons
[I] too would get a second opinion. One of the main symptoms of Addisons is dark skin particularly around the elbows and cheeks. A second opinion would be a good idea.

NY 1009 09-01-2008 08:52 AM

Re: dark skin pigment with addisons
I couldn't help answer to this post.
I was JUST watching a program yesterday on t.v. that was about misdiagnosis mysteries and how these people who suffered with different illness's took so long to be diagnosed.
one of the woman happened to have addison's disease. it all started with her feeling exhausted all the time. anytime she felt in a comfortable position, she'd fall asleep. when she got home from work, she'd sit on the reclining chair in the living room and go right to sleep. she started losing weight. the dr. blamed it on stress and didn't even do a cbc panel on her.
the next dr she went to did the same thing.
then she started getting new symptoms. her skin looked like it was tan.
then her vision went bad and blurry.
she was craving salt. she'd eat pickles, she's eat chips of salt, (sea salt) right out of a bowl.

long story, shortened, when she was at work and her vision became blurred, she told her boss she had to go for help and that she felt sick. she called her son, son brought her to ER. they basically told her the same thing the other two dr's told her, but they finally did the blood work. sent her home, told her they'd call her with the results. she recieved a phone call to come back to the ER ASAP, because her heart muscle could just pop at any time due to an extremely high potassium level.
the kidneys had to work harder to get rid of the high levels which in turn, pigmented her skin like it was tan.
then they did the ACTH? level and found out more things. which led to her having addrenal insuffiency. they gave her medicine which she'd have to be on the rest of her life and she said she felt better almost immediately after being put on medication. AT the end of the show, they said she died in Oct. of 2007 due to other complications that had nothing to do with the addisons disease.
I was stunned to see what this poor woman and her husband went thru all that wasted time. I understand that this type of disease is rare and was even rarer when my mother in law was diagnosed with it back in the early 60's.

she had the same symptoms and almost died too because doctors were not familiar with this disease back then. she's on medication the rest of her life now.

they call the yellowing, jaundice, don't they?

I'm confused now. I thought yellowing had to do with the liver, not the kidneys. but on the t.v. show, they said it was her kidneys doing it because of such high potassium levels.

jmj0803 12-09-2008 12:32 PM

Re: dark skin pigment with addisons
Adrenal insufficiency and Thyroid disorders are definitley connected! My daughter has adrenal insufficiency and hypothyroidism. Her symptoms were severe fatigue, a GOLDEN tan not mexican dark, abdominal pain, severe weight loss. She basically was waisting away to nothing with a great tan! The only reason her endo checked her was because she has red hair and fair skin and never tanned a day in her life until that summer. I think if they had tested her before she developed the tan she would have came back positive.
Has your endo checked your ACTH, sodium and potassium levels? That would be your first question. My daughters ACTH level was over 2000 yes 2000. I have found you need to push doctors to do testing they are not familiar with. Hope I helped a little.

jess97 12-10-2008 01:04 PM

Re: dark skin pigment with addisons
just wanted to chime in.

My family doctor(also a relative) said the exact same thing about the thyroid and the adrenals not being related (he actually said he'd studied it and had NEVER seen a case) I knew he was wrong, because my adrenals were all mesed up, as was my thyroid.(diagnosed by a naturopath before i had my addison's crisis)

So, i agree with everyone else - def. find a new endo (maybe look in a nearby town if there is not one close to you...)

As for the darkening of the skin. I was diagnosed in the hospital and all the doctor did was pull down my blanket, looked at my legs and asked me if i tanned a lot. I told him I hadn't seen the direct sunlight for 2 years (i was terrified of skin cancer - i knew i was too tan - almost like a bronze color all over my body.) He knew right then that we had to do an ACTH test - which confirmed his suspicions. My endo also told me that the high ACTH makes the skin bronze or turn pigmented.

Lintek45 - i watched the same "mystery diagnosis" show and i researched that she later died of cancer i think - how sad, huh?

keep looking for a doctor that will listen...they are out there - you just have to search! Don't give up!!:)

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