Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Low Adrenal Function Symptoms


The adrenal glands produce many hormones which regulate the endocrine system (Pituitary Gland, Thyroid Glands, Parathyroid Glands, Thymus, Pancreas, Adrenal Glands, Gonads)
If the adrenal glands are not functioning well,
all of the endocrine system will function only on a low level which may result in related problems such as low thyroid, PMS, or diabetes.
The adrenal medulla (inner part) of the adrenal glands produces adrenaline a quick acting hormone which enables the body to cope stress especially in emergency situations: the body constantly produces and stores adrenaline
The adrenal cortex (the outer part of the adrenal gland) regulates mineral metabolism (sodium, potassium, chloride), water balance, metabolism (utilization and distribution of carbohydrates, protein, and fat), allergic and immune reactions (such as hypersensitivity, allergies, and autoimmune diseases) and the production of male and female hormones; these hormones are not stored in the body
These three primary hormones are produced in the adrenal cortex:
Cortisol which regulates blood pressure, blood sugar and muscle strength;
Aldosterone which regulates sodium and fluid balance
DHEA (precursor hormone to estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) which influences stamina and libido
Low Adrenal Function

Usually symptoms of low adrenal function occur slowly
and gradually worsen
Symptoms become evident when body under heavy stress

Normal- high cortisol peak in morning tapering off to low at about 3am
Cortisol should peak in the morning to get you going, declining slowly and steadily throughout the day to sustain energy, then dropping off in the evening to allow you to drift off to sleep. This optimal pattern signifies healthy adrenal function.

When the adrenal glands are not functioning optimally, you can have a condition that is known as adrenal fatigue, or adrenal exhaustion. Adrenal fatigue often develops after periods of intense or lengthy physical or emotional stress, when overstimulation if the glands leave them unable to meet your body's needs.

S1 - early symptoms of low adrenal
S2 - mid symptoms
S3 - later stages called Addison’s disease (adrenal glands cease to function) Some other names for the syndrome include non-Addison's hypoadrenia, sub-clinical hypoadrenia, hypoadrenalism, and neurasthenia.

Early stages of adrenal dysfunction
Cortisol levels are too high during the day and continue rising into the evening. (can be in this stage for years)
increased sensitivity to odor- predominantly on noxious odors such as petroleum fumes; tolerance of perfumes
dark circles under eyes
susceptibility to bruising
allergies & intolerances increase

Middle stages of adrenal exhaustion
cortisol output may rise and fall unevenly throughout the day as the body struggles for balance, but levels are abnormal and typically much too high at night.

Advanced stage of adrenal insufficiency
adrenals are exhausted from overwork, and cortisol never quite reach normal levels

Symptoms of Low Adrenal Function

S3 - low blood pressure and or pulse (or changes in blood pressure or pulse); 80/50 to 110/70 (normal 120/80)
S3 -heart muscles become weak (myocardial weakness), circulatory failure can occur); heart slows
S3 - decreased blood volume (hypovolemiia - elevated pulse, diminished blood pressure, skin pale or blue esp. lips and nail beds, dizzy, faint, nauseous, thirsty, can lead to shock)
poor circulation due to reduced cardiac (heart) output (caused by weak heart muscle and dehydration)
heart palpitations (fast hard beating) and chest pain
S2 to S3 - tachycardia (rapid beating of heart over 100 beats per min)
S1 - lightheaded or dizzy when stand quickly (orthostatic hypotension) or even when sitting; unsteady or stop movement but still standing
S2 - fainting (peripheral vascular collapse)
slowing of heart rhythm
S3 - small heart size
may have mitral valve murmur or prolapse
easily becomes tired, exhausted
shortness of breath
sudden fatigue and muscle weakness- low blood pressure causes the muscles to weaken from low blood supply
poor circulation
lethargic (sleepy, doppy, foggy) and weak
hemorrhoids (varicose veins of the rectum) and varicose veins of lower extremities caused by blood pooling i abdomen and pelvis

S2 & S3 - shakiness
S3 - low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) ; may need frequent small meals to stabilize blood sugar
S1 - excessive craving for sweets, fats, and salty foods; black licorice
S3 - severe insulin sensitivity
insufficient carbohydrate formed from protein results in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and diminished liver glycogen
(sugar stored in liver for energy)
lowered blood cortisol makes it difficult for liver to convert glycogen into glucose
fats, proteins and carbohydrates (the body’s reserve energy pools) can not be easily converted into glucose
during stress insulin levels are increased because of the higher energy demand of cells
insulin opens the cell wall membranes to take in more glucose to provide more energy to the cells
without adequate cortisol to facilitate the conversion of glycogen, fats and proteins (energy reserves) to new glucose supplies, the increased demand is impossible to meet and low blood sugar results (increased insulin and decreased cortisol)
may lead to addictions as an attempt to bring up blood sugar

S2 - nausea & stomach problems; bloated stomach; gas, gas pains, cramping; indigestion
S3 - abdominal pain (may increase with exertion)
S2 & S3 - vomiting and diarrhea; gaging
S2 & S3 - irritable bowels or may move food too fast (hyperactive transit time) therefore malabsorption ; food exits stomach too fast causing poor enzymatic digestion
S1 - mild nausea, little appetite
S2 - inability to handle food high in potassium or carbohydrates unless combined with fats and protein
S2 - low levels of gastric hydrochloric acid
S3 - indigestion and poor absorption of nutrients - due to sluggish circulation in abdomen; poor carbohydrate, fat, and protein
metabolism therefore little energy
trouble digesting protein
S3 - malnourished due to inability to absorb micronutrients - often deficient in trace minerals necessary for electrolyte balance and tissue structure; anemia
S2 - tendency to constipation (slow digestion)
S3 - sores in intestines and stomach (gastrointestinal ulceration)
S1 - low metabolism ; gains weight easily even if don’t eat (also low thyroid)
S1 - women tend to put weight in lower half of body (pear shaped)
S2 - difficult to lose weight; may lose weight when they rest and recover
S3 - unexplained weight loss - decreased or loss of appetite
S3 - sudden weight loss; thin; can’t gain weight

anxiety. nervous; tense; startle easily; worry, fearful; panic attacks
depression or apathy - caused from malnourishment
overriding fear - due to low energy and secondary copper toxicity
very serious; numb; may just stare and not blink
reduced tolerance for stress; difficult to cope
overwhelmed by daily tasks; difficulty functioning
decreased ability to handle stress
fluctuating mood
due to build of metals in body may have emotional problems: obsessive compulsive tendency; bipolar disorder, schizophrenia; emotional instability

sunken around eyes
dark circles under eyes
fluid under the eye (result of low thyroid -hypothyroidism)
dry eyes
S1 & S2 - sensitivity to bright light
night blindness
long after image (ie. headlights)
S3 - dilated pupils, involuntary, abnormal eyelid movement
eye pain, blurry, hurts to focus
ringing in ears
chronic ear infections

complains of fatigue or exhaustion (wired and tired); tense
awake exhausted - insomnia; sleep light; awake at 2-4 am; unrefreshing sleep
sleep best semi-reclining due to low blood pressure
need excessive amounts of sleep
tired in mornings - don’t really “wake up” til 10am
midday fatigue - sleepiness or clouded thinking from 2 to 4pm
burst of energy at 6pm
feel better after meals and in evening
sleepiness at 9 to 10pm
“second wind” at 11pm that last until 1am when finally go to sleep; insomnia
trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep (waking up middle of night)
generally low energy level in morning gradually rising, being highest late at night
S3 - slow, sluggish, lethargic movement
S3 - speech - slow and sluggish
S1 - chronic fatigue, low stamina and endurance (exertion producing profound fatigue)
S3 - response times slow down

adequate cortisol balances and keeps the immune response from responding excessively: examples of excessive response - allergies and sensitivities
diminished resistance to infections; recurrent, severe illness;
esp, respiratory infections
frequent sore throats
ability to handle trauma and other stress is diminished
allergies - increased allergies (new ones); hay fever; more stuffy
unable to counter production of histamine and therefore tissues become inflamed; which causes pain throughout body
S3 - lower white blood cell levels; (leukopenia)
chemical sensitivities
wounds do not hear quickly or well
slow recovery from illness
chronic infections
Asthma, bronchitis or chronic cough
lymph glands swollen and tender (esp in neck)
atrophy of lymph system which lowers the body’s immune mechanisms
autoimmune problems
may be sensitive to medications and supplements etc.
and need small doses of medications

poor memory and memory retrieval; episodes of amnesia
decreased clarity of thought; easily confused; difficulty paying attention
headaches; migraines; constant headache
neuralgia (nerve pain) esp in neck and head

S1 & S2 back pain
S2 abdomen tighten and cramp when move
S3 - extreme pain in the stomach, lower back and lower limbs (crisis)
flank pain - pain on side of body -between last rib and the hip
Pain with pressure on mid-back (over adrenal glands)
joint and muscle pain and aches caused by inflammation
muscle aches (esp in shoulders and back)
nerve pain - neuralgia esp. in neck
carpal tunnel
discomfort when standing; walking easier
lax ligaments (connective tissue); may be exceptionally flexible
may have flat feet, or be double jointed;
joint strains/sprains are common
Instability of joints leading to pain - low back pain, knee pain, feet and ankles, calves
uncontrollable restlessness; muscle cramping, spasms, jumpy legs; muscles cramp easily; esp shoulders
stiff- difficult to more
poor coordination
chest tight and pain
muscle weakness- related to insufficient carbohydrate and deficient neuromuscular function (muscles under voluntary control; ie incontinence (lack good bladder of bowel control); weakness may be sudden and severe (unable to lift feet and arms, blink, legs won’t hold weight)
numbness and tingling in hands and feet (low thyroid)
S2 - sensitivity to noise- startle easily

S2 & S3 - PMS
skipping or stopping of menstrual cycle; can stop having periods
difficult menopause (due to adrenals inability to increase their production of estrogen to help compensate for the loss of estrogen from the ovaries); hot flashes
low libido
can lose pubic and underarm hair

body is unable to respond to adrenaline because needs more cortisol - (normal response is for bronchi to become relaxed so air can reach lungs and mucus production is inhibited)
without enough cortisol there will be bronchoconstriction
(constriction of the airways in the lungs due to the tightening of surrounding smooth muscle, with consequent coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.) Bronchoconstriction can also be due to an accumulation of thick mucus. and swelling of mucous membranes which make it hard to breathe
Asthma, bronchitis or chronic cough
rapid respiratory rate (tachypnea)
S1 - frequent sighing

skin rashes or lesions (injury, patches or damage) on the feet and hands; sores on the inside of the mouth
S2 - excessive pigmentation of skin and mucous membranes esp in creases (eyelids, inside knees and elbows) - darkening (blueish black around nipples, lips, mouth, rectum, scrotum, or vagina) or tanning beyond normal; may be pinkish or tan even where skin not exposed to light; increase in moles and freckles
S3 - Vitiligo (white spots or patches) uneven pigmentation
skin excessively dry (have little oil or sweating); scaly and thin
hair - straight; sparse on body, abundant on head; may be dull and dry
nails - thin, brittle
smooth finger-prints (flat/shiny); may have longitudinal wrinkles over finger pads (probable cause is low collagen level)
red palms or fingertips
pale or flushed color to skin
S3 - subnormal body temperature -tends to have low body temperature around 97.8 or lower (can be high if have virus or infection)
fluctuating temperature - average of three daily readings changes from day to day (normal is to be consistent average temperature)
S1 & S2 - excessive sweating on the face and or hands
S3 - poor sweating
S2 - pallor and cold sweat; high fever, shaking chills
S2 - intolerance to cold (may have hypothyroidism) (have low blood pressure and poor circulation)
poor regulation of body temperature ; thermoregulation; (hot when warm; cold when cool)
S3 - temperature drops after exercise
cold hands and feet(clammy); may turn blue
heat intolerance - esp. with high humidity and low pressure

S2 - usually mildly dehydrated
S3 - dehydration - unable to concentrate urine which results in dehydration
S1 - dry mouth
S3 - kidney (renal failure) shutdown; (Anuria- inability to produce urine
S2 & S3- water retention and puffiness
S3 - swelling due to electrolytes unbalanced; esp of feet and legs, fingers
S3 - low electrolyte levels (hypochloremia); high potassium levels (hyperkalemia); crave salt to rebalance and avoid dehydration (must have more than normal salt in diet or will die)
S2 & S3 - excessive thirst and urination


Addison’s disease- at least 90% of adrenals destroyed
Occurs when adrenal glands are no longer capable of producing enough cortisol to deal with stress (accident, virus, pregnancy, heat, cold, burns, muscular fatigue, infections, nervous strain such as pressures, discord, change, shock, surgery, fear and worry, allergic reactions, menopause, lack of sleep, injury, chronic pain, hypoglycemia, noise, severe stress, starvation or dieting, over work, emotional stress, etc)
If low may appear well but with trauma, surgery, illness, infections, dehydration, emotional stresses etc. symptoms will appear
Life-threatening state
Caused by insufficient cortisol; treated with cortisol tablets or shots

*warning symptoms
*fever (if infection), chills, painfully cold (esp. feet); sweating
*mild nausea. loss of appetite
*dizziness; orthostatic hypotension (dizzy when stand up)
*joint aches
* low blood sugar (shakiness, wobbliness, irritability, faintness, hunger, brain fog)
* confusion
* mild diarrhea
* muscle cramps (esp. in back and neck)
* extreme weakness, loss of muscle strength, energy
* fatigue, drowsiness (asthenia); trouble staying awake
* skin turns pink or tan
* low fasting blood sugar
* feeling restless, confused, or fearful

If given adequate cortisol medication, rest, extra salt, frequent small well balanced nutritious meals, and relaxation, usually a person can avert a full crisis and possible death from shock.

Advanced symptoms (Addison’s Crisis or Adrenal Collapse)
body temperature low; VERY cold; feet and lower legs feel like in ice water; lips cold and blue; pale
severe nausea
vomiting and/or diarrhea
vertigo- severe dizziness
very low blood pressure (shock- peripheral vascular collapse)
severe pain in the abdomen, lower back, or legs
unable to move or even speak- slurred speech
loss of consciousness from acute hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
renal shutdown (nitrogenous waste build up in blood stream)
severe dehydration ( unable maintain salt and potassium balance)
shock- circulatory collapse; death

Cancer and heart disease, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s can be end-stage results of toxic accumulation and energy depletion (low adrenal function).


  1. I had been on synthroid for about 12 months. I was cold all the time, had dry flaky skin, and could not lose any weight even with a strict diet and exercise.I have been taking bovine thyroid for about 2 months now. My skin is not nearly as bad than usual.

    1. That is great! Low Thyroid can really make you feel cold and make your skin very dry. Glad you are finding out what is helping you feel better.

  2. I have been tested and my thyroid T4 production is a bit low but not low enough to need to take thyroid supplementation. I am cold with a temperature of 93 to 95 in the mornings and my skin can be dry. When I take my hydrocortisone, my temperature starts to rise. Also now that I am taking a higher dose of hydrocortisone, my skin is less dry and I am starting to slowly lose weight.

  3. I am not taking hydrocortisone. I am on Fludrocortisone. I am very cold. I get dizzy when standing my pressure was very low the other day. I am now a caregiver for my husband and we have had a lot of stressful things happen in our lives too. I am truly tired. I am on synthyoid, but should I be on hydrocortisone too.

    1. You can be tested to see what your level of cortisone hormones are. If it is low I found that I needed both the Fludrocortisone (controls mineral balance) and Hydrocortisone (controls blood sugar, temperature) to feel well.

  4. I can't function without hydrocortisone. Fludrocortisone helps with blood pressure, but the hydrocortisone enables me to deal with stress. Otherwise I am extremely ill. Hope you are feeling better.

  5. Dear E. Russell,

    I am doing pretty well. Most doctors, including endocrinologists, don't have any idea what to say to us. This is a rare disease, though I think more people though are experiencing stress adrenal glands so maybe it isn't that rare.

    Reducing stress isn't easy. You sound like you have had a lot of stress during the last few years. Little things like eating organic food and filtered water can help and it also helps to have a positive attitude. You need to feel that there is something in your life that you can control. I try and look at all I can do instead of my limitations. That helps.

    Yes, low adrenal function makes you feel constantly exhausted. If you can squeeze in a nap or two during breaks, it will help. It takes a long time and lots of good care of yourself to allow your body to recover from stress. Some people take a small supplemental dose of hydrocortisone to help their adrenal gland heal. You could ask your doctor about that and what vitamins and minerals he recommends.

    Your body sounds like it isn't able to handle all the stress if has been put under, but anything you can do to cut stress will help you feel a little better.

    I find that moist heat helps with the pain so I can sleep better so I soak in a hot tub before bed.

  6. es, I experience stiffness, swelling and pain especially in the hands. It increases the more tired I am. I have been told I have fibromyalgia but not arthritis. The cortisone in your body helps the body to control inflammation. When your cortisone levels become depleted, they you are more inflamed and experience pain. Also the adrenal glands produce hormones which regulate water balance in your body. If these hormones are also low, then you will have swelling and possible problems with blood pressure.

    The adrenal gland also help to manage your immune system. When these hormones are low, you will become more sensitive to everything around you.

    Exercise will help some with water balance; eating food with potassium and getting enough salt will also help (don't over do though, but your body may not be retaining salt if your adrenal glands are not working well.

    If you rest and cut all the stresses down that you can, it help your adrenal glands to recover. (see my blog for ideas)

    You might want to talk to your doctor. Sometimes a small dose of hydrocortisone (very mild and low dose), can help the adrenal gland to recover.

    Hope this helps.

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  8. Just found your blog today. Was diagnosed at our local hospital's women's center about five or six years ago. What a battle! The traditional medical field outlook on it all doesn't help! I look forward to reading more of your blog in the days to come. Enjoyed living in Park City and working in Salt Lake City for twenty years. Hope all is well there!

    1. Yes, we are having a beautiful fall.

      It has been about twelve years for me. After my daughter's wedding (I got very tired), I just couldn't get back up. When I got to the point of not being able to eat or sleep, we discovered that my adrenal glands had quite working and I had Addison's disease. Do you have Addison's or just low adrenal function?

      It is a challenge to learn how to manage medication to handle stress and to keep all stresses at a minimum. Personally, I think being a diabetic would be easier in some ways. I have learned a lot and am a better person because I have had to deal with this problem.

    2. Doctors can certainly help, but they really don't know much about what to do to help. It is a lot of experimenting to see what works. My doctor gives me the parameters like blood sugar needs to be between 70 and 145 and don't take more hydrocortisone than 60 mg and then I experiment and give him the data and we decide what to do.

      Yes, pushing yourself really doesn't pay!

  9. I havent been officially diagnosed... but for the..past two wks I've been really ill with pretty much all the S3 symptoms from my whole body being ice cold to sever pain and swelling in my abdomen and leg and had to be hospitalized. They said i was extremely dehydrated and lacking potassium, they did a blood and urine analysis and said there was no red flags and sent me on my way... Its been almost a week and i still feel sick and have been researching my symptoms day and night. which brought me to your blog, and gave me hope. what test are done to diagnose this disease?

    1. I'm sorry that I didn't answer you sooner. I just discovered that the emails were going to another file.

      They do a fasting blood test. It shows the level of adrenal hormones that your body is producing. When I had the test, my body produced no detectable level of cortisone. Sometimes people just need some adrenal support for a while then they can slowly cut down on the medication (hydrocortisone) and no longer need it. You will need to discuss the tests and treatment with your doctor, but you can feel much better with medication.

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  11. What an interesting site. I was managing my disease well for years with few crises however each one left me with extreme muscle weakness, unstable slow gait and the latest in November 2012 left me with ataxia movements, stilted, slurred speech and poor short memory. More than a year later, I still can't walk properly, my legs ache constantly and I have tingling in my feet.
    My endocrinologist says this is not typical for the disease and is unable to help me.
    Has anyone experienced anything similar?

    1. Low adrenal function should not cause problems like that, but I do have some problems with walking. Low adrenal does affect your electrolyte levels which affect your nerves. It also affects you ligaments, making them very lax and stretchy. Not feeling well for so many years has also resulted in muscle weakness and poor circulation. I am working at doing stretches and muscle strengthening exercises. It is helping with the numbness in my toes, pain in my lower back and dragging of my right leg. You might want to discuss your problems with a nerve specialist. Could you have had a stroke? Hope you are better now.

    2. Yes!!! It's horrid, and spooky, and difficult! I've had lots of that type of trouble. It comes and goes (except for the numb and tingly arms and legs, and face). Even hour by hour the symptoms will flux. After a crises I'll have neurological trouble for hours, days or weeks - coming and going the whole time, slowly recovering back to my norm after about a month or 2 or 3, depending on how bad the crises and neurological trouble was in the first place.

      Sometimes I'm pretty sure it's due to hyponatremia! And consequent brain swelling. A side effect of addison's or adrenal insufficiency due to an imbalance of electrolytes. Does your head get woolly and or stingy along with it? Does it worsen after a drink? Hyponatremia IS typical for the disease! Are the symptoms constant or do they come and go and to varying degrees?

      I've been somewhat better after starting fludrocortisone (1.2 a tablet), along with my Hydrocortisone. And these days I never have a drink without at least a tiny bit of Himalayan salt in it.

    3. Yes, if not treated, low adrenal function can result in hyponatremia, not enough salt in the blood. I became so thirsty before I was diagnosed that I drank more than a gallon of water a day. Of course this diluted the amount of salt in my body so I was still thirsty. Now that I take fludrocortisone (1mg) each morning, I do pretty well. I still have to take a little more salt when it is very hot in the summer.
      I can become very ill if my salt balance isn't correct and it takes a few days to fully recover so I am very careful. For instance I NEVER drink any alcohol, or use any drugs other than my hydrocortisone. It is too hard to keep all my hormones and minerals balanced as it is with Addison's Disease. This is a very serious condition not to be taken lightly. Putting other chemicals into me just makes a mess of things, causes so much pain and headaches, and takes so long to feel better, that it just isn't worth it. I simply don't do it and feel much better.

    4. Hi there,

      I haven't been diagnosed as yet and have had an ultrasound with an all clear result (though the facilitator there did say visibility was bad re the US so I'm not sure if the all clear was due to bad visibility or because there wasn't anything there!). I've been unable to walk for 9 mths which coincided with an extremely stressful period in my life. I have swelling in my legs, arms, abdomen and face and pee A LOT! I also have great pain in my groin which makes walking even more difficult and sore underside of feet! I also have a stomach and booby rash which I'm not sure about re origin. I feel however that I may have Addison's Disease. I just want to be diagnosed I suppose.

      I'm sorry I haven't been helpful and wish you lots of correct info to rest your mind and hope this somehow translates to the same happening to your body.

      Much Love

    5. I was amazed to learn that stress could make me so ill, but think of it, it messes up all your body chemistry and depletes you body's reserves. It can cause you to retain water while eliminating a lot of water. You feel more pain and your immune system may be weakened (rashes, allergies, chemical sensitivities). Rest and good nurturing care will help, but you might want to see a doctor and test and see what your problem is.

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  13. was diagnosised with hypothyroidism last year but I always felt thyroid was not my issue. After reading this blog, I would have to say 110% I have adrenal fatigue as primary and maybe thyroid as secondary due to the adrenals not working properly. In my research I found that even using the thyroid meds that it may help for a small time and then you will have to keep increasing dosage if adrenals are not taking care of first. I would like to stop the thyroid and do so gradually, so I can take care of adrneals first. (first I am going to get adrenal function blood work done, to confirm) Any thoughts ?

  14. That is a good idea to test your adrenal hormone production first. That will give you and your doctor some information to make a decision on what to do next. My doctor also had me keep a journal of what I was taking, eating, exercising, sleeping and how I was feeling, what made me feel worse and when I felt better. It was a big help in trying to determine the right course. You might want to discuss your test results with an endocrinologist. If your Thyroid glands are the problem you probably will have normal levels of other hormones. If the adrenal glands are the primary problem, then all hormones will probably be a little low. Your test results should really help you know what to do.

  15. Why on earth are mainstream doctors so willfully ignorant? this makes them absolutely dangerous! 10 yrs confined to wheelchair,swollen feet, ankles, loss of balance, vertigo, violent muscle spasms,shortness of breath, misdiagnosed with MS as well as more exotic labels ruined my life.

  16. Hi my name is Lauren and iam 26 years old. For 2 months now I have been going to my doctors and there telling me I have anxeity and depression. It all started with me waking up in the morning, weak, stiff, feeling drunk, blury vision and different body temps. Then other symptoms occurred. Breaking out in hives randomly, cold chills, balance off, hot and cold sweats, blury vision, dizzy, gaining weight, bad acne, slow speech, can't concentrate, senstive to light, smells and sounds. More anxeity, heart races, shortness of breath, uncontrollably muscle movements, senstive to cold and hot at random times. Too many symptoms for them to add up so both my Nerologist and pcp say it's anxeity. My period is off as we'll. normal blood work and MRI was normal. I have fluid in my brain as we'll and just had a spinal tap yesterday. Still have the same symptoms. I looked up what could cause my condition and I got Addison disease. I don't know what to do anymore cause my doctors told me it's all in my head. I written symptoms down and kept notes. They said it sounds like I do have a hormone imbalance but there not concerned. Just wanted to know your thoughts. Thank you

    1. I was wondering if you ever received a diagnosis? Do you have mobility problems? Eye site issues? Tremors? Feeling of being shocked? Muscle cramps and/or spasms? Severe debilitating migraines/headaches/pain that last for roughly no more than 10 minutes? My girlfriend has a lot of the same symptoms as you, down to the hives, but she has not had a diagnosis yet. PCP is thinking MS, but Neurologist is not so sure. Was wondering if you have received anymore info.

    2. (see my answer on the first page- Have you been diagnosed with Addison's Disease)
      Yes, I can have trouble moving, gripping things, focusing, cramping, shaking, and have severe headaches (mine last for days but I can keep going) (see the symptom list; I've experienced most of them). They thought it might be MS with me also at first, but the test was negative.

      What information do you mean? Test results?
      I feel reasonable if I take my hydrocortsone and Fludrocortisone.

    3. Look for an OD rather than an MD, I've been thru four MD' s and as many diagnoses. My OD found several hormone imbalances, adrenal fatigue and low thyroid. Although my symptoms are very similar I have an underlying autoimmune disease that's my primary issue. The great difference between an MD and an OD is an OD treats the whole body, they treat cause not just outsource the symptoms. Every visit the doctor has spent like 45 minutes with me, I had to go in on an urgent care visit and saw a different doctor and he spent the same kind of time with me. It's been amazing having a doctor listen to how I feel and read test results based on how I feel not by "normal levels", I'm not being treated like a drug seeking nut job but like someone that's genuinely ill.
      I looked for my own doctor and the one I found specializes in immunology and allergies, I didn't know what an OD was at the time but I'm so glad I found him.
      Good luck and keep pushing for answers if you feel like somethings wrong trust yourself and keep looking until you find a doctor that hears you.

    4. I agree that when you have a complicated illness, such as adrenal fatigue, it is best to work with a doctor who will not just try and quickly patch you up, medicate you, and send you off. A DO, Doctor of Osteopathy, is a regular doctor but his training is geared toward looking at the whole person. The can also manipulate the spine and support muscles and ligaments. I am grateful that I have a good doctor who considers how all my ailments affect my health.

    5. Did they ever diagnosis you with Addison's. I was told for months that i was fine by several different emergency rooms. I was almost dead when they decided it might no be all in my head. You need the ACTH test to be diagnosed.

  17. You bring back memories-- most are unpleasant! I know what it is like to feel awful day after day, but I also know that when you find out what is the matter, you can feel a lot better. (the only symptom I didn't have was hives, but I had lots of food allergies and chemical sensitivities) When I was in my early twenties, I went to many doctors to find out why I was so ill. I was told to go home and take tranquilizers. For thirty years I continued to get worse. I began to wonder if the doctors were right and I was just "nuts", but I felt a strong assurance that something was really physically the matter with me. I know the Lord helped me make it through all those years when so many people told me I was "just depressed". Finally, in my mid fifties, my adrenal glands came close to quitting. I couldn't sleep or eat. After a rough three days, my doctor suggested that I try some hydrocortisone. Almost immediately I began to feel better. This was the only thing that had ever helped me to feel better, so we tested to see my adrenal function. It was a simple blood test to see the level of adrenal hormones in my body. We found that I had no detectable level of cortisone!
    Finding out what hormones your adrenal gland is producing can easily be done. I wish I had had the test thirty years before and saved myself from all those years of misery. If the test shows that your adrenal glands are functioning well, then you will know to try other tests.
    My prayers are with you. Don't give up!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. I came upon your blog today and was very excited to see that other people are living with Addison's Disease too. I was diagnosed at 19 and now I'm 47. I've been living with Addison's for a very long time and I find that it's more difficult for me to manage the disease now than ever before. When I was younger I could get away with not taking as much hydrocortisone and still have the energy to work, but today I find that my doctors are frustrated because my dosages keep fluctuating. Basically, if I had taken better care of myself when I was younger, I may not be having so many problems today. My doctor prescribed Florinef (salt) tablets 1mg a day but my sodium levels are still dropping and potassium is super high. He wants me to increase the florinef to 2 mg but i'm already swelling up, gaining weight (20lbs from a year ago), and I feel like I'm going to pop like a balloon. I'm also constantly thirsty and hungry, especially for the obvious...salty foods. I"m frustrated with my diet and exercise but yet find that i'm being pulled in another direction because of lack of energy and always hungry. I feel like the disease is dictating how I look and feel and I no longer have control. I will let you know how I'm doing in the near future. Thanks so much for this wonderful blog!!

  19. I have posted some articles - Hydrocortisone and Addison's Disease; Florinef and Addison's Disease; and Low Adrenal Function and Menopause; I hope they help you. Write to me if you have any questions.

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  21. This is a wonderful blog, it describes me from an early age to my diagnosis of Adrenal insufficiency by stim test. It is horrible isn't it? My thyroid has been eaten away by autoantibodies too and now I have diabetes, they say with the steroids but I am only on 30mg a day. If only the doctor that told me I had neurasthenia in my early thirties had done something about it, not sure he could have though. I have high copper and lots of phsyche// emotional problems with this as well as the swelling and other physical stuff. My brain often feels like it is starving or shrinking. I am very afraid of that prognosis at the bottom of the blog, any way of not getting Parkinson's and or Dementia? Hugs to all in this boat xxx

  22. Hi Cheryl, I think your blog is very informative, especially the symptoms at different stages of the disease. I've had ongoing problems with fatigue, muscle and joint pain, throbbing pains in neck, groin and armpits, weight gain, bloating, dry skin etc etc for many years and have seen specialist doctors for thyroid, rheumatoid arthritis and general consultants but nobody has been able to pinpoint the problem.

    I think it's possibly a combination of a few things because I have a slight goiter (thyroid) but the tests come back within the normal range. After reading your blog, I asked my doctor for a cortisol level test but again that came back "normal" - I don't really know where to go from here but am currently trying Licquorice Root to help and I already use Sea Kelp which has helped with the thyroid symptoms immensely. I guess doctors don't know everything and will only treat if your results are outside of their accepted range but I really wish they'd look at the symptoms instead. They really must think I just like to visit them (as if I want to waste 10 years on doctors/hospital trips!)

    Anyway just wanted to say thanks for putting so much effort into laying out the various stages of symptoms - even if I don't get a diagnosis I can use your page as a good reference.

  23. Thank you. I am going to respond to you in a post since others might have the same experience.

  24. My daughter who is 17 has been experiencing a lot of random symptoms these last 2 weeks. A lot sound like the ones on this blog. She's been feeling very bad, low heart rate, low pulse (50-70), low sugar (70-90s)--It never goes above the 90's, low temperatures (93-96), feeling very cold, feeling like she's going to pass out, dizzy, not functioning normally, hard to think or concentrate, achyness, sore joints sometimes, pressure on back head, sensitivity to foods, acid reflux, constipation, gassy, lethargic, weak, very down, slow moving, difficulty breathing sometimes, doesn't feel up to doing anything, trouble sleeping, no period for a year(except one), swollen ankles(last night), not doing normal activities, lately dry skin even though she drinks a lot of water..... Before 2 weeks ago she was ok, eating real healthy (organic, no gluten, little dairy), she was exercising a lot. She had some issues in the past, 5 years ago had bad vertigo for a long time (they said it was a virus), the next year she had mono for long time, she's been on the tired side ever since. She's had blood work, urine lab (waiting on this), heart tests, next week she's doing a test for POTS, we've had about 3 ER visits, mean while she's feeling pretty bad, seems to have episodes where she feels so bad. There are times she says she feels like she's going into shock. Doctors are unsure at this point. Any suggestions?

  25. Nina, I'm sorry that your daughter is having so many problems. I was about that age when I began to "fall asleep" each day before dinner. When I was in my mid fifties, my adrenal glands quit, and I was finally diagnosed with Addison's disease. You might want to request that you doctor test for low adrenal function. Most doctors consider it so rare that they don't test for it. With many people's high stress lifestyle and foods and environment full of chemicals, I wonder if it is more common now. The test for low adrenal function is a simple blood test. There is also a Saliva Hormone Test which is good. You might even want to try both and compare results. When the regular things don't show the problem, look at the more rare. Wishing you a good Christmas. My prayers are with you.

  26. Nina, I forgot to say that if she does have adrenal problems, she can go into shock. This is call an Adrenal Crisis or an Addison's crisis and it can be very serious. Don't mean to scare you, but if this is what she has, she needs treatment soon.

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  28. I have found this blog to be the most recent and the best thank you.
    I have recently been told I have Addison's disease .i also have lupus and was told it rare to have both lucky me.i am waiting to see an endocrinologist an hope they can sort this out this out for me .i would like to know if anyone else has hot sweats about 20 times a day and night I find it very hard to sleep and hav lower back pain.The lupus gives me point pain also so it's hard to know which is playing up I would love to speak to anyone else who has both diseases and would also like to chat about addisons and what this disease does

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  36. my daughter has acromegaly diease she had tumar removed from or by pituary gland now she is adrenal inssifficy she wants to go out drinking with her friends but is sick all the time I am trying to get her to take her cortisol but she hasn't she just gets sicker any suggestion

  37. You can't force anyone to take care of themselves, I know, I'm a mother of four grown children. It is hard to watch you children hurt themselves. I do know that you can die if you do not have the cortisone your body needs. I also know that you can become so ill that you lose the ability to do much of anything, even blink. It gives misery a deeper meaning. Don't go there! I'll pray for her.

  38. My name is Linda and I have Parkinson's and in the past couple years been in and out of hospitals and doctors because of extreme weakness and fatigue, abdominal pain, etc and told me to go home, there's nothing wrong with me.  Recently in the past month, things have been worse and told again nothing is wrong with me.  I'm so frustrated and exhausted.  Day after day, at least 6 or more times a day the following symptoms occur:  I'm fine one minute, then suddenly become so weak and fatigued followed by dry mouth and violent tremors, shortness of breath, abdomen swells up with pain, dizziness, light headed, extreme dry mouth, gagging, strange odors from my body, shoulder & neck and back pain, pain in lower part of legs and feet.  My skin feels clammy and like its burning, body temp drops to 94.0 and up and down 95.4, 96.6.  Also blurry vision, jolts of shooting pain in areas of my head.  Speech is slurred.  Skin is dry. Constipation, Loss of appetite and weight loss, urge to pee alot.  My body literally feels like life is sucked right out of me.  This lasts anywhere from half an hour to 4 hours straight.  I feel very tired after this and exhausted.  Then there are times when I have this sudden burst of energy to do things and then BAM, Its like pulling the rug out from under your feet and back down again, symptoms starting all over again.

  39. Just so tired of being sent away and living like this day after day after day. I forgot to mention I was diagnosed with Parkinson's 8 years ago. I have the tremors, walking is hard, eventually weakness and fatigue came on. then as mentioned above all these other symptoms came on. also at times my balance is off, wobble around when standing, like I can't stand still. at times when I'm sitting my legs start jolting. I'm very exhausted and wish I could sleep at night. I really want to find out what's wrong with me instead of being told it's all in the head nothing wrong with you!!

  40. I'm sorry that you have Parkinson's disease. It is possible that you could also have other problems. You may not have failed adrenal glands (Addison's disease), but you could certainly be under major stress. You could try reducing your stresses and see if you feel better. You can also ask your doctor to give you a blood test which will show your cortisone level. If it is low, he may be able to give you medication so that you will feel better.

  41. Hi there, I am Koba and from SA. Adison's due to very high doses on cortisone because of M S over 25 years . Had adrenal crisis before diagnosed. Am coping well on hydrocortisone, fluorocortisone and meds for hypothyroidism . This is new to me, 2 months and I would love to hear of tips from you . Am losing my mane of hair, but being able to walk again makes it insignificant. Just have trouble with inter cranial pressure and diuretics is a disaster as salt is depleted and I am scared of potassium trapping. Cortisol production is 17, normal I think is between 200 and 300. iron is to high and bit B 12 way to low. Was the meds is helping I am feeling ok but am still tired and the muscle collapse come back if I forget medication. Funny to read about fingerprints, I have none. Koba

  42. Keep in mind that it takes a long time to recover. I always had to have a teaspoon of salt a day (not all at one time) and two potassium pills. It is important for your water balance to have a balance of salt and potassium in your body. People with Addison's can die if their salt becomes too low, so never skimp on salt. Take extra if it is hot. You can not forget your medication without serious consequences. I could not move, think, or eat if I skipped one dose of my hydrocortisone. It would take days to recover. I learned to take my medicine on time. My fingers are smooth. You might like to read some of my other articles for ideas on how to live with Addison's.

  43. Hi my name is beth. I was a fast paced working mom raising 3 kids alone, 2 w challenges. Never had a prescription except viral etc.
    Started passing out randomly. ..diagnosed addisons. 1st dr told me to take as many hydrocortisone as necessary to feel good and gave me up to 10 today. I had started feeling pretty bad and was not used to medications and doctors so I took the advice. A couple of months later we talk again and he explained that I should only take 3 or 4 /day and then the others save for low blood pressure etc.
    The other diagnoses including ankylosing spondylitis neuropathy hypothyroid teitze disease IBS xtreme anemia low blood sugar high blood pressure (at times) fibromy .I can't remember the last 5 off hand started like bad train wreck.
    Drs kept giving me meds til it reached 19. Finally I was so sick I just became a hermit. Was able to go back to work small time teaching but it is very difficult.
    My daughter and son in law helped me start lowering my meds and use more more natural approach. But even still blood pressure today was low for 4hrs or so 80/90's. Usually take about 20mg day and mg of florinef.

  44. Hi my name is beth. I was a fast paced working mom raising 3 kids alone, 2 w challenges. Never had a prescription except viral etc.
    Started passing out randomly. ..diagnosed addisons. 1st dr told me to take as many hydrocortisone as necessary to feel good and gave me up to 10 today. I had started feeling pretty bad and was not used to medications and doctors so I took the advice. A couple of months later we talk again and he explained that I should only take 3 or 4 /day and then the others save for low blood pressure etc.
    The other diagnoses including ankylosing spondylitis neuropathy hypothyroid teitze disease IBS xtreme anemia low blood sugar high blood pressure (at times) fibromy .I can't remember the last 5 off hand started like bad train wreck.
    Drs kept giving me meds til it reached 19. Finally I was so sick I just became a hermit. Was able to go back to work small time teaching but it is very difficult.
    My daughter and son in law helped me start lowering my meds and use more more natural approach. But even still blood pressure today was low for 4hrs or so 80/90's. Usually take about 20mg day and mg of florinef.

    1. Sara, as you now know, too much hydrocortisone can make you very ill. You must increase it very slowly and decrease it slowly. It may take a week or two for your body to adjust to changes in medication. I used a blood pressure monitor and blood sugar monitor to help me know when to raise and when to lower my dose. I also kept a health journal so I could see what things stressed me and made it so I needed more hydrocortisone. See my articles on managing medication. Looks like you are making progress. My prayers are with you.

  45. Can people get disability for this disease if so what would I write in a letter to dispute or appeal I applied and they denied I just cant function

    1. You would need a doctor to write the letter verifying your illness. You would also need to have the blood tests which document your lack of production on cortisone.

  46. I was in crisis when I was diagnosed, so I refused to take the steroids at first. I started taking herbs to support the adrenal glands. As I have been tested and retested, my labs are showing normal. I told this information to the Endocrinologists, but was told you don't have Addison's Disease. I stopped taking the herbs, and now I am right back where I was before. At least, the herbs were minimizing my symptoms. Now, I feel like I'm in crisis on a regular. My family don't believe me. They think, if I just go to sleep and wake up, I'll be okay.
    I wake up with a blood pressure 80/50. I am groggy. I have brain fog, excessive fatigue, back and joint pain, nausea, sometimes vomiting, severe dizziness, insomnia, hard to lose weight, and loss of appetite.
    I have no support. I go to work everyday drinking coffee to stay awake, give me energy, and help keep my blood pressure up. I, also, eat potato chips everyday to help keep my blood pressure up.
    If you don't have a condition people are familiar with, then you are on your own. I feel like I'm fighting for my life by myself.

    Lost TR

    1. I had many lab tests which just showed that "all was normal" too. Have they tested your level of cortisone? Have they tested your thyroid? Sometimes a low thyroid can cause similar symptoms. Have you told your doctor about the herbs and how much better they make you feel? You might be lacking in some minerals. Have you had your mineral levels checked? Don't give up. I was ill for 40 years, but am doing well now. Remember that your adrenal glands quit when they become exhausted due to too much stress. Try and eliminate what stress you can. See my articles on stress.

    2. Hi, I just wanted to say that I had most of the symptoms you list and although it's taken years, I feel I'm finally getting somewhere (aside from the damn belly fat that won't shift!). After reading up on this site and various others I take many vitamins and supplements now and I definitely believe these have helped in the long term to turn things around.

      Firstly I started off with Sea Kelp (as I thought it was a Thyroid problem) and this helped with throbbing in the neck and extreme fatigue. The biggest difference over the last 12 months has been a Raw Adrenal Glandular supplement (mine is from Swanson). It has really stopped me feeling so exhausted all the time and controls the throbbing under my arms and in the groin. Also gone is the anxiety I was suffering which was starting to take over my life - I started with a fear of flying and of driving and I grew nervous and jumpy. I also found any noise intolerable.

      I also over time added in general vitamins for support which were Vitamin D (the doc actually diagnosed a deficiency for this one!), Licquorice Root, Iron (this helps my dry skin), Vitamin C, a Multivitamin, vitamin B, zinc and other general health supplements from time to time.

      I still get tired easily and alcohol affects me quite a bit, making me exhausted (but I don't drink much, so I can cope with this) but my general day to day health has improved. I have also started to try to get better sleep and though this is hard for me as somewhat of an insomniac, getting to bed earlier and reading does help. I also find a hot water bottle helps me to drop off (must be a comfort thing!).

      I have other problems such as joint pain and sinus issues and whilst these haven't really improved (they might not be linked to the adrenal exhaustion), without all the other problems, I feel I can cope with them.

      So whilst I'm not cured, I feel better, so that is good. It's been a long road and it may still come back but there is hope out there. Just need to eat healthier and try to lose the weight now (trying Magnolia Bark and Cordyceps supplements for this, as well as cutting down on carbs, which make me feel bad).

      One of the main things as well is to take time for yourself and try not to do too much. I am lucky to live alone, so it's easier for me than those with families but relaxing and lying down for an hour (even watching tv, reading or just doing nothing) without any interruptions really helps. It's not selfish to take care of your own mind and body and in the long run, if you are well, then you can take care of others better too.

      Good luck "TR" with your future health - I hope things improve for you.

      Cheryl Anne, I found your site very useful and supportive - finally somewhere that listed ALL the symptoms and the various stages (not just adrenal crisis). Also, just knowing others are going through it and getting better is helpful!

    3. Sounds like you are making some good changes in your life. As my doctor told me, "Remember that it took you a long time to get to this point and it will take a long time to heal." Avoiding sugar, alcohol, processed foods, etc. and eating purified water and plenty of organic foods. You are right as you nurture yourself, you will have more to give. Joint pain and sinus problems can be a part of being exhausted. When you adrenal gland is not functioning well, you can not regulate sugar well in your blood. It really helped me when I cut way down on the carbs and only had plain fruit, beans and squash. You can do it!

  47. Poor digestion and low level of stomach acid (due to low adrenal function ) can bring about heartburn. I never knew that this condition can affect digestive health.

    1. I had a lot of heartburn. Sometimes I couldn't sleep. As I began to heal, the heartburn went away. Thank you for sharing that.

  48. I agree with you. Thank you for sharing the update. It is interesting to have it discussed widely so that we can gain more objective opinions.

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  51. Dear Cheryl Anne:

    You seem to be very knowledgeable about this and I'm turning to you for help.
    I believe that I have Addison's but have not been diagnosed. In fact, I've been dismissed by doctors more time than I care to mention.
    Right now I am terrified.

    Can you please offer me your advice?

    Like I said, I believe I have Addison's. Can you please take a look at the symptoms below and give me your opinion? Right now, I am very weak and ill and lying in bed. I currently have a fairly good doctor who is trying to find out what's wrong with me (at least so far, that may change if he gets fed up). I have some unrelated tests scheduled through him and expect to see him again in about 2 weeks.

    Based on the symptoms below, and my current state (very weak, very thirsty, freezing cold). I realize you are not a doctor, but can you take a look at the symptoms below and give me your opinion on how I should proceed - should I wait the two weeks to see my doctor again, or should I book an appointment and go in now? My experiences with doctors has been so negative that I'm unsure as to how to proceed. Do I move now with this, or do I wait and give him my full list of these symptoms in two weeks?

    Thank you in advance Cheryl Anne!

    Joint pain (first symptom I ever had)
    veins that dilate (very weird looking, and I believe, accompany the sweats)
    Sweats - very uncomfortable, and I feel sick first.
    Swollen lymph glands behind left ear
    Salt cravings (used to be very bad)
    Extreme weakness to the point where I can sometimes hardly walk a block
    Extreme exhaustion
    Most recently, thirst
    Constantly hungry
    Collapsed twice
    Very Low Vitamin D
    Upper back pain in the past
    Now stooped a little bit. It's very hard to stand straight
    Muscle spasms and cramps
    Pins and needles
    Hyponatremia (not major, but still)
    Pain on my right side
    Pain in my lower back
    Freezing legs and hands (on and off)
    Constipation for years (a bit better now)
    Abdominal problems for years - gas, indigestion, discomfort (better since the course of antibiotics given to me to get rid of the ulcer bug)
    Hands get shaky

    1. Sorry it has taken me so long to respond. I've been traveling. Remember that Addison's disease is just another name for extreme exhaustion. You can have all sorts of symptoms such as the ones you have. Have your adrenal glands checked. It is a simple blood test and then you will know what is going on and what action you need to take. One thing I found was when I rested and relaxed I felt better. That means you are really tired. If the test is just a little low, take it as a warning (I wish I had) and take it easy. Your body can heal if you give it a chance. If you start to vomit violently, shake with chills, are extremely dizzy, and hurt all over, are so tired you can stand up by yourself, get to a hospital. Don't be afraid. You really have to push yourself for a long to get to that point. Hope it went well with the doctor and tests. Keep a health journal. It will really help.

  52. HI, I am in Norfolk UK. I was suffering from Addisons disease in infancy, and apparently I was in hospital for the first year of my life, I nearly died twice too, where they couldn't find a cure at the time,that was in 1955, my parents told me that I had to have salt on EVERYTHING I ate, well they ended up trying 'Doka' which again I was told, that worked and I made medical history,I remember having to go to the children's hospital in London for yearly check ups!!! Now I'm 60, and had 5 children 2 of which were twins!! But now I have Pernicious Anaemia, Hypo/Hyper thyroidism, it's only recently started to fluctuate into hyper two mnths ago, so will have it tested again next mnth. I was definitely suffering Adrenal fatigue for about 8yrs before I was diagnosed, I didn't realise it at the time, with the previous issues, and now my blood pressure is kind of 'normal' I do still get tingling in my hands and feeling cold off and on. Short term memory loss due to my b12 jabs only being every 3mnths, I only get 6wks good after my jab then goes downhill after that!!! The real reason I felt I should say about me was that there is always hope and to always keep up seeking help and not give up when you feel rotten. It's important that you understand your body, inside and out!! Thank you if you read this.

    1. Great attitude! Yes, you must have hope to get better. You can't give up. Thank you for sharing.

  53. Brilliant informative blog, helps me to know others are suffering like me and tests to request from dr. I've been ill for many years, all doctors do is say it's down to fibromyalgia, on reading the information above I feel much more aware and will request more tests

    1. That's what they told me too --"It's just fibromyalgia. Nothing can be done." Fibromyalgia just means you hurt all over and they don't know why. Get tests to know what is really the matter. You could be suffering from excessive stress.

  54. I believe poor adrenal function and MS go hand in hand. A study in 2010 determined people with MS are missing the neurocortio steroid, allopregnenalone, which is made by the adrenals.

  55. That's interesting as my daughter has MS. The neurologist suspected it because of my loss of motor control and the way I was walking but the MRI didn't show any signs of it but I will ask my dr about that steroid, thank you!

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  61. About every 2 wks I get severe lower back pain. Extreme coldness chills in my bones, shaking badly, can't get warm, nausea, sometimes projectile vomit and its green, aching joints, headache n weakness. Cramps and spasms in my arms and body. I am very thirsty when this attack happens. This lasts for a few hours and then I get extremely hot and sweaty, headache and feverish. It's happening just randomly. I'm hypothyroid too. I'm always tired and fatigued, wake up at night and can't sleep. I have gallstones too and get very bad reflux if I eat fatty foods like chips. I'm so fed up of feeling unwell. My doctor said I don't have addisons. No test nothing. Very dismissive

    1. Some doctors are like that. Yes, true Addison's disease is extremely rare, but being exhausted is common. I think women really push themselves much harder then men do. Several doctors just told me it was all in my head. I found another doctor who believes if you are ill there must be a reason. He did the adrenal test and they showed that my adrenal glands had quit producing cortisone. You are at a point that it could be serious. Thyroid can also cause similar symptoms. Having the blood test would let you know what you are dealing with and how to treat it.

  62. Hello. I have had a number of symptoms for a number of years and many of them seem to point to low adrenal function. A symptom that I've started having recently is sounds hurting my ears. The sound seems okay to other people but to me it's very loud and painful. One time recently I was at a restaurant and there was a young child screaming nearby. It was hurting my ears plus it was stressing me out physically and the next day I had a fever blister. Do you think that this is a symptom that could be associated with low adrenal function?

    1. I have found that the more exhausted, the more stressful sounds are. Once I went to a football stadium and had to leave because the noise made me faint and nauseous. It could be a sign that you may need a lot of rest.

  63. Cheryl
    I am having real trouble picking up from this last crash. I am still on 70 mg hysone per day and 0.1mg florinef and still feel dreadfully I'll, I can only stand for a few minutes just feel so weak and disinterested in life. Usually I am quite positive but this time the long haul.. 8 weeks like this now, is really getting me down and makes me fearful of my future.
    My GP thinks my system is just exhausted and needs lots of rest a little like you have said.
    Have you got any tips on how to stop being fearful and stay positive? I was doing a lot of mindfulness meditation but I don't even feel like doing that now

    1. My doctor told me, "It has taken you a long time to get to this point and it will take you a long time to heal -- relax, be patient." That is the best advice I have been given and it is true. The more worried and upset I became about my health, the more tired and ill it made me. When I tried to relax and did fun things, I felt better. I was ill for 14 years. You hopefully will be wiser than I was and will heal much faster. Don't be afraid. Have faith that you will heal. Prayer, scripture study, and positive books, videos, and people helped me to heal. You have to heal from the inside out - fear will weaken you spirit. Have faith. I know it can be done. I've done it and am totally off all medication now.

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  69. Hi Cheryl Ann,
    I have Hypothyroidism (I take 200 mcg thyroxine a day), and major depression (efexor 225mg daily). As yet, I have not been diagnosed with Addisons, but they say 'suspected addisons disease' . I had been seeing my endo every 3 months for 3 years, which involved a 4.5 hour drive to the city and 4.5 hour drive back. I was originally referred to by my GP as my acth levels were abnormal (can't remember now what they were). Endo also tested for Cushings as my weight gain is horrendous. I have all of the symptoms you listed and have left my stressful job and have become recluse because of the weight, fatigue, joint pain etc and apathy. I have stopped going to GP and endo, as I felt that neither were offering any answers or solutions as my bloods were coming back ok. I found that going to see them was a waste of my time, energy (of which I have precious little) and money. At this point, not sure what to do...


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  73. Dear Cheryl
    I am seeking some opinions on what I have been experiencing in the past year, the list of symptoms are like the type 4 of your blog.
    But let me tell you a simple one
    1. Cancer of thyroid/taking 137 tirocint
    2 leg spasm or uncontrollable very painful strange leg tightness to the point i cannot use leg for moments or so painful it aches all day
    3 degenerative disc disease
    4 dengerative arthritis in hands wrists cannont hold pen pencil very long, opening envelopes are impossible
    5 spinal fluid loss/ spine fusion t4 series to tail bone.
    6. Over stressed i dont have capabilities to handle anymore.
    7. Swollen feet hands every morning.
    8 dark circles under eyes that are embarrassing and cant cover with makeup so i dont go out often people stare
    9 sudden weight gain when all my life i have been thin. 135 lb from 120 weight is usually 125 sudden weight loss from surgery year ago with blood loss and spine fluid loss and life.
    10 tumor taken out by 1/2 liver which liver has grown back.
    Fatigue muscle pain like flu type pain but cannot over come it. Pain meds dont work. Asprin does but thins blood.
    Vision constantly changing.
    Walking become more difficult
    Urine loss without realizing it til its too late

    I could go for days telling you symptoms but can you guide me somewhere i should be asking my doctor to test?



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  75. Cheryl Anne,

    Thank you for your knowledge. To those with thyroid issues, have you had your vitamin D checked? It is the main component in the master glad downward.
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    I have the Addision symptoms now for 9 years. I went to an Encino logistics for 2 years and all he ever said was he didn't know. I need to know which tests to asks for. A teacher I once worked with had an Identical twins who had it and said I fit the bill. Email: Candis
    My biggest issue I'd cold. If in cooler than 77 degrees F, I try to warm up, but if I remain I get diahrrea, dehydrated and confusion until I can warm up. This warming takes about an hour under an electric blanket or with the heater on in my car.

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