Monday, October 20, 2014

Florinef and Addison's Disease

A woman wrote in saying that she having trouble with her Florinef medication. She complained of side effects -- gaining weight, feeling bloated, puffy in the face, hands shaking, chest beating hard, sweating, thirsty, low sodium levels, potassium high, craves salt. She says that Florinef is salt tablets and thinks is is causing her symptoms. She also states that she is starting menopause. 

I think several things are happening here. First look at my post on Learning to Use My Medicine

Fludrocortisone (or Fludrocort or Floroinef- brand name) is NOT a salt pill.  It is a synthetic adrenal hormone. It is used to replace one of the major adrenal hormones, aldosterone. Most people with Addison's Disease need to take Fludrocort (1 pill .1mg) daily. Aldosterone controls mineral balances in our bodies, mainly the salt and potassium balance. Aldosterone therefore regulates your blood pressure and water retention levels in your body. It also regulates nerve impulses. Most people have to take potassium pills when they take Fludrocort since Fludrocort causes the body to retain salt and dump potassium. 

Symptoms of Too Little Aldosterone or Fludrocort

  • low blood pressure (110/70 or less)
  • extreme fatigue
  • pain with movement
  • nauseous
  • dizzy and lightheaded
  • crave salt (low salt) 
  • high potassium
  • drink excessive amounts of water
  • excessive urination (15 to 20 times a day)
  • low hydration (sign of dehydration - rough tongue, dry skin)
  • excessive perspiration
  • weak leg muscles
  • difficult to move
  • muscle twitches 
  • heart palpitations (pounding or racing)
  • symptoms worse after drinking coffee or alcohol (increases dehydration)

Symptoms of Too Much Fludrocort
  • high blood pressure (140/90 or more) 
  • puffy feet and hands (swelling from water retention)
  • low potassium
  • high salt 
  • sudden weight gain
  • short of breath
  • uneven heart rate
  • muscle pain or weakness
  • confusion
  • increased thirst or urination 

Yes, some of the symptoms are the same. That is because any mineral imbalance causes problems. For instance you can have too much salt or too much potassium in your blood and the body tries to re-balance by causing you to drink more water or eliminate water. 

You do not need to guess if you are too high or low in fludrocort.  Just check your blood pressure with a monitor (available at most drug stores). If your blood pressure is high your fludrocort is too high. If your blood pressure is too low your fludrocort is too low. Fludrocort levels are directly related to blood pressure. 

There are also blood tests that will directly measure the level of fludrocort in your blood. 

Most people who have Addison's disease must take fludrocort because our bodies do not produce aldosterone which regulates mineral balance. Therefore most people take .1 mg  (one pill) each morning. This dose usually stays constant.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How Does a Person with Addison's Disease give a Social?

 We felt we were the ones to give a neighborhood social. Several new neighbors had moved in . They didn't know anyone, and they didn't have yards in yet. We had the space, means, and time to do it. What I didn't have was the health to prepare the food or our yard for the social. I couldn't set up, serve, or clean up. Also, we could only get together in the evening which is when I am especially tired. 

We wanted to do it, but logically it didn't look possible. What I found out was that it wasn't possible. I really couldn't do much to prepare, beside plan. I couldn't do much that evening besides talk quietly to a few people. but it worked out well. How?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

I'm Doing Better!

I'm feeling better than I have in years. Why? I was in pretty sad shape last fall. What has changed this last year? A lot!

For one thing we got

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Purpose of Blog

Though most people who read this blog don't have the rare condition of adrenal failure called Addison's Disease, many people aren't feeling well and want to know what is the matter with them. I am writing to you with the hopes that what I have been through and learned might help you avoid similar experiences.  I know of people who have given their adrenal glands the nurturing they needed and are well and strong now.

I am also writing for those of you who have just been diagnosed with Addison's Disease and feel that the floor had just dropped out from under you. At this point, you will probably not heal, but you can learn to manage and live a long, fulfilling life. I know it can be done.

To all of you I share my experiences, research, hope, and prayers. Write me if you have questions and I will try and answer.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Control with Monitors

A blood pressure monitor and blood sugar monitor do not cost much and can be bought at most pharmacies. They can help you keep control of your medication and your life. You do not need to worry about getting an over dose of hydrocortisone or fludrocort if you monitor your blood sugar and blood pressure. 

Learn what is a normal pattern for you. Your blood pressure and blood sugar will

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Updating Site

Just wanted to let you know that it is still me. I'm feeling better than I have in years and have tackled learning more about blogging so there is a new look. I'm working on improving the site. I hope also to do more posts, so let me know what questions you have.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Will I get Diabetes if I take Hydrocortisone?

My doctor explained it to me this way. He said that taking hydrocortisone does not cause diabetes, but taking more hydorcortisone than I need can cause me to become a diabetic.