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Secondary Addison's?

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Old 06-08-2009, 07:31 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: DC Metro
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MsEnigma HB User
Question Secondary Addison's?

Hi all, i'm new to these boards I was wondering if anyone here has been diagnosed with secondary or tertiary Addison's? My primary physician is convinced that this is what has been plaguing me for almost 5 years now. So she referred me to an Endocrinologist and I see him this afternoon. I am uncertain of what my current labs are, I only have my lab results from 2005.

AM Cortisol- 8.6 & 8.2 (ref range 6-22, taken 1 week apart)
ACTH 10 (ref range 10-60)

While Addison's disease certainly fits the profile of my symptoms... my labs (at least from back then) were still within the normal range. Although, low to low normal. But normal nonetheless. So I am wondering why they suspect Addison's? Unless my labs are now below normal? I guess I will find that out today. I was told that they will be running some kind of stimulation test/s. Can anyone share their experiences with those? I'm somewhat nervous

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Old 06-08-2009, 02:32 PM   #2
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orion HB Userorion HB Userorion HB Userorion HB Userorion HB User
Re: Secondary Addison's?

The lab scales are for normal people with no symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms of low cortisol and you have low end test results then its reasonable to at least test to rule out cortisol problems. Low cortisol AND low ATCH at the same time is also a good indicator of trouble.

A blood test is not diagnostic, instead you need some kind of provocative test that determines your actual adrenal capacity. If you were to be seriously stressed with low cortisol, you could be in a deadly situation. Undiscovered low cortisol kills several people each year.

My cortisol levels were always normal on the blood tests, but after an insulin induced hypoglycemia test, it was determined that I have no cortisol reserve at all. In other works, when I was not under any stress I could feel perfectly fine. But with an infection, a cold, the flu, exercise, staying up late, etc, I would quickly exhaust my cortisol and would experience intense symptoms.

Last edited by orion; 06-08-2009 at 02:34 PM.

Old 06-09-2009, 08:49 AM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: DC Metro
Posts: 3
MsEnigma HB User
Re: Secondary Addison's?

Thank you for the response! I appreciate the info as well as your personal experiences. I saw the Endo yesterday and was quite impressed with him. After the physical exam, intense interview inundated with question after question... he discussed his thoughts and possible diagnosis. 1) He also suspects secondary Addison's like my GP. He believes it may have been caused by a possible pituitary infarct due to childbirth complications (Sheehan's Syndrome). I had HELLP's Syndrome during my last pregnancy, an emergency c-section, hemorrhage requiring blood, plasma and platelets transfer, etc. No one had EVER mentioned this before and I found it fascinating. He also suspects Hashimoto's Thyroiditis/Encephalitis! Never heard of that variant before, but it would certainly explain the seizures I began having 8 months ago as well as the migraines that both have a relapsing/remitting pattern. So he ordered 17 different labs and I had them drawn this morning:

CBC w/ diff
Comp metabolic
Lipid panel
FANA titer
Free Testosterone
Free T4
Thyroid Peroxidase AB
Thyroglobulin AB
25 OH Vitamin D

So I am now awaiting the results...

Old 04-09-2011, 06:51 PM   #4
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Atlanta Georgia
Posts: 54
missjaimes HB User
Re: Secondary Addison's?

I know I'm way late to this post but did you ever get this figured out? I think I may be going through something similar and wanted to hear your outcome. Thanks

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