Friday, July 31, 2015

How Can You Test to See If You Have Adrenal Fatigue?

You level of adrenal fatigue can be tested by checking the level of the adrenal hormone, cortisone, in your blood stream (hormone outside your cell), and saliva test which measures the adrenal hormones within your cells. The saliva test can be done several times a day. If the level is below the normal level, you may have adrenal fatigue. It it is severely low (70% lower than normal), then you may have Addison's Disease.

You can also check your pupils. If your pupils do not dilate (become smaller) or stay dilated in bright light, you may have low adrenal function. Low blood pressure, especially why you stand quickly can also be an other indicator of low adrenal function.

Besides checking the internet, a good book is

Friday, July 17, 2015

Adrenal Fatigue and Pregnancy

I have been asked if I had Addison's Disease when I was pregnant. Since Addison's Disease is a common term for primary adrenal insufficiency, it is a matter of degree. I had not gotten to the point where I had an adrenal crisis, but my adrenal glands were not functioning well and my cortisone production was probably low. Each pregnancy I became more ill and recovered less. I was extremely fatigued, weak, and very nauseous the entire time I was pregnant. This woman wanted to know how to tell the difference between being pregnant and approaching adrenal crisis.

That is a very serious question. I think with me it was both- I had more symptoms from pregnancy because my adrenal glands were not able to give me the support my body needed with the increased demands of pregnancy, and I was having symptoms from low adrenal. .

Both pregnancy and Addison's Disease (or low adrenal function) can make you very tired. Usually, in pregnancy you start to feel better after a few months. I felt more and more tired as the stress of pregnancy continued. With pregnancy I felt more sleepy and just tired, while I felt more a sense of terrible deep fatigue with low adrenal. I had trouble lifting my arms or even blinking. It was a tiredness that went all through me.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Adrenal Medication and Menopause

I was asked if I  needed more cortisone to deal with the stress and changes of menopause. I did need more sometimes.

A woman asked me if the small amount of extra cortisone she was now taking because of menopause could cause her to put on weight and have trouble losing it. Yes!  Even a small amount of cortisone can increase your weight, especially during menopause. Cortisone causes insulin resistance (it counters insulin to maintain stable blood sugar). Menopause causes your metabolism to slow. When you combine more cortisone with the lower metabolism of menopause, it is hard not to gain weight.

She also asked whether a little extra cortisone, taken along with her normal florineff,  could increase her blood pressure. Cortisone and florineff are replacement hormones for the two major adrenal hormones. They do affect each other. I have experienced this interaction many times.

I suggested that it is particularly helpful during menopause to keep records of your blood pressure and your blood sugar. These records will allow your doctor to better monitor your adrenal medications, so you can feel your best. During menopause you may need to adjust your medications several times. 

I felt a lot better when menopause was over!  It will eventually end.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Perception of Tiredness

Obviously, something has gone wrong for I am down again. About three weeks ago, I woke up and could barely move. The day before my husband and I had gone on a little outing, and I felt ok afterwards. It was just an hour from our home and only involved a little walking around an historical park. Why was I so tired?

Two days before, I had had the energy to go to up to our attic six times in a row. I was doing fine, so why didn't I have any energy now?

The answer -- I have little perception of how tired I really am becoming. I get so used to being tired that I don't notice how I am really feeling. I don't expect to feel rested. I don't even remember what "rested" is, so I just keep going and do what I think I must, should, or want to do. I don't stop until my body finally quits. I think I am "better now" and "can do it". I tell myself that everyone gets tired. That is true. Everyone does get tired, but I start at tired and take it to lower levels. I am having to remind myself that dragging myself from room to room, feeling nauseous, having blurry vision ("so tired they couldn't see straight"), coldness, shakiness, and staring blankly are far beyond normal "tireness".  It is exhaustion.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

How Did I Find Out I Had Adrenal Problems?

I was about fifty when I found out that I had Addison's disease. It was just after my daughter's wedding. I collapsed, was achy, could hardly move, was nauseous, dizzy, and very cold. I had no appetite, but lots of back pain, muscle cramps, depression, headache, eye pain and blurry vision, little night vision, and hot flashes (especially in the evening when I was more tired). It got worse. I began throwing up whenever I ate anything and couldn't sleep at all. After three days of this, I stumbled into my doctor's office. He looked at me and suggested that I try a little cortisone ( a low dose mild hydrocortisone, not the big guns - prenisone). I thought, "I'm going to be dead soon at this rate, Why not!). I immediately started to feel better.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Where Did You Get Your Information?

A person wrote to me and said that she appreciated this blog and asked me where I got my information. She wanted to share it with her doctor. This is my reply to her.

Glad this is of help to you. It took 35 years of illness and tests to find out that I had Addison's Disease.

I list some of my main resources on the blog

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Have you been diagnosed with Addison's Disease?

I have had the blood test to see what my production of cortisone was ; the results -- "no detectable level" of cortisone.  Yes, I have been diagnosed with Addison's Disease (very, very low adrenal function) .  You have to remember that losing adrenal function can be a slow declining process. You can have many of the symptoms but milder and less frequently when your adrenal glands are stressed but still functioning. At this point, avoiding stress, rest, good nutrition, and relaxation can help the adrenal gland to heal.