Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Will the dark patches go away?

A woman wants to know if the darker patches of skin color will go away. One of the early symptoms of Addison's Disease is darkening of skin especially on your face and in skin folds. Hyperpigmentation should go away when you take enough cortisone so that your body is not producing excessive amount of ATCH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone) in an effort to stimulate the adrenal glands.

I could always tell when I needed to take more medication because my face would turn a deep rose color. When I got my medicine up to an adequate level, the rosiness would go away. I am not as pale as I used to be when I was younger, but my skin is pretty normal now.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Tests for Low Adrenal Function

Here are some good sites that tell about the tests available to help diagnose low adrenal function. I had a blood test which showed that my body produced "no detectable level of cortisone".  My doctor also listen to my symptoms and we decided to try a test of my taking a small amount of hydrocortisone. Nothing else had made any difference in how I felt, but in desperation, I decided to give it a try. Since I immediately felt considerably better, it seemed likely that my adrenal glands were not producing enough cortisone. We checked.  I had a blood test which showed that my body produced "no detectable level of cortisone". It was conclusive, I had Addison's disease.

One of the best places for information on Addison's Disease can be found at the UK Addison's Disease Self Help Group

I also have found Dr. Wilson's work very helpful

Monday, July 25, 2016

Will traveling with Addison's Disease make you tired?

A woman, who has had Addison's for 7 years, told me, " I love to travel but now I'm just traveling 2-4 hours away to see family and friends or for conferences. I am often exhausted after these trips...especially the professional ones. I don't feel tired or like I'm pushing myself during the trips but when I get home I end up sleeping most of the day for a day or two."

Remember that your adrenal glands help you deal with change by adjusting such things as blood pressure, blood sugar, metabolism, and temperature. Even with medication, a person with Addison's disease will not function as well as a person has normal adrenal glands.

Imagine a person with diabetics. Now think of them eating a large piece of cake. What will happen? They will become very ill! Why? Because they did not have the insulin they needed for the amount of sugar they ate.

How do you deal with being completely dependent on medication to live?

A woman shared this, " the greatest challenge has not been in physically, but in mentally accepting the realization that I am dependent on a medication, without which I would die. I have a strong faith and spiritual support system, but would still welcome any comfort or wisdom you might have to share regarding the panic and negative thoughts that can feel overwhelming at times."

I agree that it is hard to accept that you will die if you don't have your cortisone. At times, I was afraid. Faith and prayer help to keep me going and comfort me when I felt I was being overcome by fear.

Here are a few things I did to help me cope:

Is Addison's Disease a Genetic Disease?

A woman told me that her boyfriend was told that Addison's Disease is a genetic disease and he would have it all his life.

Maybe and maybe not. The adrenal glands can become damaged in many ways -- hemorrhage from a car accident, cancer, tumors, tuberculous, HIV, virus damage, other diseases, genetically weak adrenal glands, high doses of cortisone used to treat other conditions, failure of the Pituitary glad to produce the hormone necessary to stimulates your adrenal glands to function, your immune system attacking your adrenal glands, and excessive prolonged stress of any type. (see  https://www.addisons.org.uk/info/manual/causes.pdf  )

Whether or not your adrenal glands heal, removing as much stress from your life as possible will help you feel better. It will also probably help your body cope better with your disease, decrease the possibility of other complications, and increase your quality of life.

In my case, I seem to have had a lot of stress caused by low oxygen levels (chronic bronchitis and a heart murmur), several injuries, allergies, chemical sensitivities, and unresolved emotional issues. As I worked to control or reduce each problem, my adrenal glands began to heal. My adrenal glands did not produce any cortisone for years and now I able to function without any medication at all.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Is it safe to take cortisone?

A woman wrote in about her boyfriend who has just been diagnosed with Addison's Disease, "I have read many online materials saying people with the condition can live normally with help of medication. But he doesn't wanna take any hormone pills because he thinks steroids are not good and that treatments are not gonna help ."

Yes, people with Addison's Disease can live a fairly normal life if they take medication. It is like being a diabetic. I wouldn't say a diabetic lives a "normal" life, but people who have health problems can live a good life if they are careful about exercise, diet, rest, and stress.

Taking steroids are not a good idea for most people and neither is taking insulin or any other unnecessary hormone or drug.  If your body is producing insulin, then taking additional insulin in pill or shot form will give you an over dose. The same with steroids. The adrenal glands produce cortisone, a steroid which we all need to regulate our body's metabolism. If your pancreas does does not produce enough insulin to control the sugar levels in our blood, then people are given insulin to replace that they should be producing. It is not an over dose. If your adrenal glands do not produce cortisone, then you need to take replacement cortisone.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Can adrenal medication cause me to gain weight?

A person wrote in and said, "My meds need some changing, I've gained 15 pounds in one year, and I'm pretty sure it's my florreneff." It is possible that too much fludocortisone could cause you to gain weight, but it is more likely that an overdose of cortisone (hydrocortisone) will cause weight gain.

Fludocortisone mainly controls your mineral levels and therefore your water retention and blood pressure. You would see a big change in your weight during the day if your fludocortisone is too high. Your weight would be lower first thing in the morning when your medicine levels in your blood stream are low. You weight will be higher in the evening if your dose of fludocortisone is too high because you are retaining water (assuming you are taking your fludocortisone in the mornings as most people do). I varied ten pounds a day and my feet were puffy when I was taking too much fludocortisone.