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  • Really Worried...any ideas?

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    Old 05-22-2009, 06:53 PM   #1
    fluffer
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    Unhappy Really Worried...any ideas?

    I just got some results back from a bunch of testing that was done this week and am kind of freaking out. My follow up appointment isn't for two weeks. I am really worried about some of the results and will probably obsess until then. I was wondering if anyone might have some ideas as to what these results may mean.

    Cortisol 1.7 Low
    hs CRP 1.25
    DHEA SO4 35.6 low
    Estradiol 17.00 low
    FSH 7.8
    FREE T3 3.2
    FREE T4 1.5
    Homocystiene 10.7
    IGF-1 134
    TSH 0.69
    SHBG 68.7
    Total Testosterone <20
    Vitamin B12 296

    I am a 43 year old woman. Everything I've seen regarding low cortisol levels suggests Addington's. I've never heard of it before and of course am now really worried.
    Am I correct in interpreting these results to explain constant exhaustion? It looks like I am low in quite a lot of things. Any suggestions or ideas would be so appreciated.
    Thanks!

     
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    Old 05-22-2009, 09:12 PM   #2
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    Re: Really Worried...any ideas?

    I had low cortisol and i don't have Addingtons. Mine was linked in with my thyroid condition. I've also got messed up hormones which is often common with adrenal problems (low/high cortisol) and thyroid problems. Actually estrogen dominance lists 2 of it's symptoms as adrenal fatigue and low thyroid.

    It's difficult to know precisly what causes what. It's sort of like what came first, chicken or the egg? The adrenals are basically like a little hormone factory so maybe fixing your low cortisol levels will help your hormones.

    I was on cortisol med's for approximately 7 months and then my doctor told me to stop as my cortisol levels had improved so much. I asked him why they were suddenly able to stand on their own two feet without meds. He said that bringing your Vitamin D up high is a BIG help. I'm sure there would be other factors too. I've been off cortisol since roughly the start of this year and i don't feel the need to go back on it. I feel really good most of the time. I still have thyroid issues to resolve as well as higher estrogen levels than my doctor likes, but it's a working progress.

    I notice your doctor did not test your Vitamin D or your Ferritin (iron stores). Often people will be low in these and it's a good idea to get them tested as they both affect a lot of things.

    Your TSH appears good, you wouldn't want it any lower, but i'm not sure about your FT4 and FT3 as your lab uses a different range than mine. The Thyroid section of the boards can help you there. My TSH was always deemed "normal" or "within range", 2 phrases doctors and labs just love to use!!! This is how i ended up going 9 years without being diagnosed with my autoimmune thyroid condition. Your FT4 and FT3 thyroid hormones give a fuller picture of what is going on. Also it would be helpful if they tested your Thyroid Antibodies to see whether you have a thyroid auto immune disease or not, eg: Graves for hyper thyroid people or Hashimoto's for low thyroid, some unfortunate people have both Graves and Hahimoto's. Most doctors/labs wont test for autoimmune diseases unless your TSH/FT4/FT3 is way out.

    Your B12 is at the very low end of what is typically given on the lab range. Your B12, Vit D and Ferritin should all be up at the higher end of the range for optimum health in general, plus thyroid health. "often" but not "all" the time, people with low B12 will have lower iron stores too and they can be interlinked.

    It looks like there is something going on with your hormones, but the fact your adrenals aren't up to par could be impacting on your hormone figures. Your doctor should be explaining all of this to you. It's a bit difficult to interpret without the lab range being included. Also different countries use different lab ranges. My labs are never like those of the people in the USA or Europe so i can't help much there, but the fact the lab has put "LOW" next to certain of those results would indicate that you are definitely low.

    Hoping someone else can give you more help and good luck with your follow up appointment. Let us know how you go

     
    Old 05-26-2009, 12:30 PM   #3
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    Re: Really Worried...any ideas?

    Thanks for getting back to me. It is nice to know that someone out there has low cortisol without having Addison's. I'm trying to step away from Google this week until I have my appointment next week. I am suppose to call tomorrow or Thursday about some other results and to see if he will put me on anything besides the estrogen before my next appointment. I'm planning to do a little more questioning with the nurse then, but don't expect to get too much info from her. He is a very well known hormone doctor and thus it is a very busy office. It sure is hard waiting though! I sort of wish I hadn't called to get the results and had just waited till my follow up as I am driving myself batty.
    Anway, thanks for the response and if you think of anything else please let me know.

     
    Old 05-27-2009, 12:27 AM   #4
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    Re: Really Worried...any ideas?

    Hi fluffer - low/high cortisol levels are more common than people realise these days. People can suffer adrenal issues all on their own without having another illness. Our lifestyles, diets, stress, lack of sleep etc etc all affect our cortisol levels, but i'm sure you have done a tonne of research on this topic.

    After reading about cortisol and how valuable our adrenals are, i have never skipped another breakfast or ate a 'rubbishy' breakfast. Also when i'm hungry i'll opt for healthy snacks or protein type snacks. I'm trying to not easily get stressed about things, to give myself me time and just do that little bit extra for myself.

    Other things like Vitamin D levels will affect your cortisol too. So make sure they check your Vit D and it ought to be at the higher end of the lab range.

    Prior to your doctor's visit, make a list so that you don't forget to ask something important. It's hard to know what to say off the cuff and you remember things later when it's too late.

    Make sure you get copies of ALL tests conducted so you can start making your own personal medical history folder. This is invaluable, especially when you are monitoring several things at the one time or if you have to visit other doctors.

    Keep a listing of your daily symptoms as this could be handy for your doctor too.

    Try not to do too much research as that can make you more apprehensive. I'm in this situation with gyno issues at the moment and am waiting on a cervical biopsy result. Sometimes i think "what if it's cancer" and other time i try to think positive.

    Good luck with your appointment and let us know how you go

     
    Old 05-27-2009, 12:17 PM   #5
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    Re: Really Worried...any ideas?

    Thanks Audrey! The good news is that my appointment was moved up to tomorrow...Thursday. He got the results of the saliva test back and wants me to come in because they are very low and wants to get me started on some things to make me feel better. I will make sure to bring my list of questions...good advice! He is very into "natural" remedies, and I am hoping whatever he gives me is not any kind of steroid medication. I don't do well on them.
    How long ago did you have your biopsy done? When do you think you will have results? I will keep my fingers crossed for you. Thanks again for the feedback!

     
    Old 05-27-2009, 03:44 PM   #6
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    Re: Really Worried...any ideas?

    Hi fluffer - good luck at your appointment. Sounds like your doctor is a good one.

    I agree steroid type cortisol treatments are not the way to go. They are dangerous. Go with the non sterioid treatment and get your Vit D checked as it is beneficial for good cortisol levels too.

    I'm not sure when i get my biopsy results. I think they will phone me. Might take a couple of weeks or even 3. It will be 2 weeks tomorrow. I will let you know how i go.

    Good luck tomorrow

     
    Old 05-28-2009, 06:49 PM   #7
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    Re: Really Worried...any ideas?

    Hi Audrey
    Just thought I would give you an update after my appointment. So, I am extremely low in cortisol. This just one of the reasons that I am so exhausted all the time and truly can’t get up in the morning. I am also very low in estrogen, growth hormone, DHEA, and apparently have the B12 levels of a child from Darfur. All of these contribute to my energy level, or lack thereof. It is sort of amazing that I am as “active” as I am. He said that it must be particularly hard for me because I still look good, healthy and “put together” and “have such a nice smile” so that when people see me and talk to me they have no idea what is actually going on with me and probably think I am just lazy in the mornings and later in the day. But I have very low levels of everything that support energy levels. And I am what he would consider pre-Addison’s disease. I’m hoping that he keeps me “pre”!
    He wants my husband to come in with me to my next appointment so that he can explain all of this to him, which is really nice of him to do. And I think will be helpful so that maybe he actually “gets it” and understands why I need so much help with my kids when he is around. At least I hope he will get it.

    SO…he has put me on: b12(twice a day starting today), adrenal supplements (twice a day starting today), a natural cortisol (3xs a day starting tomorrow), and DHEA (once a day starting on Monday), to go along with my estrogen. The b12 and cortisol should give me my energy back.

    I go back to him next week for an ultrasound and then two weeks later for follow up. The funny thing is that he said that he is trying to start me off slowly but trying to get me to feel better as soon as he can, so I can’t wait to see what the next few weeks have in store. I am trying to figure out a system for all of these medicines and supplements. I’ve never been the most compliant with this kind of stuff. I of course forgot to ask him about the vitamin D! Actually I forgot my list of questions entirely. Figures! But, I'll get a chance to ask him next week. He did some bloodwork again to see how the estrogen is working...will find out about that next week. I also got some protein bars and shake supplements that he formulated. I figured they would be good for those times that I have to take some of these medications with food...at least I won't pick up a cookie to take them with! I could definitely use some help in the nutrition department, so hopefully these will help me. I've got no appetite and tend to reach for sweets when I do get hungry. I had one of the shakes which is super healthy and full of green veggy stuff, protein and very little sugar and it was delicious.
    So that's my update...hope you are hanging in there waiting for your news!

     
    Old 05-29-2009, 03:12 AM   #8
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    Re: Really Worried...any ideas?

    WOW, what excellent news i'm so excited for you. Your doctor sounds like a total keeper. Even asking your husband along to the next appointment. That is impressive!!

    Unfortunately with all the things you have issues with, well, it just takes one or two to get out of kilter and a whole swag of other things will follow.

    I think it would be wise to check your Vit D and your Ferritin levels. Most people are low in Vit D these days and it wouldn't hurt to even buy some in a healthfood store and supplement 1000IU a day, which is only the daily requirement. If your doctor finds you to be low, you can always up the dosage. Besides, adquate Vit D levels are a requirement for health adrenal function too so you are most likely very low in it. But that's just my undeducated guess from all i've learnt from my thyroid doctor. Ferritin is another very important thing. Having decently high iron stores (ferritin) is vital to so many organs and processes within our body.

    To pick your B12 up fast, sublingual B12 is great. Often when B12 is low, then folate can be low too. You need adquate B12 to help absorb folate.

    As for protein snacks, i carry a small plastic container and put in a few unsalted cashews, pumpkin seeds, almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, or mix and match daily for variety. Just a few nuts at mid morning will give your body a protein boost so that you wont feel like a sugar fix at about mid late afternoon (3pm).

    A healthy breakfast, even if it's just a piece of wholemeal toast at breakfast, is important as skipping breakfast or just having coffee's all morning is like poison for our adrenals. I'll often have a healthy cereal or cook up some oats or some days i'll make a soft boiled egg and a piece of toast to dip in it.

    With your supplements and med's, prepare them the night before so you are sorted for the following day. It will be hard at first, but soon it becomes second nature to know when to pop which pill.

    You take care and let me know how you get on. The cortisol can be quite fast acting and you will likely see results in even one week. Best wishes

     
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