Friday, November 13, 2015

How do I recover from Addison's Disease?

A woman wrote to me who has had Addison's disease for 17 years. She is tired and frustrated because she can't seem to get better. I really do understand. I spent much of the last 40 years in my home unable to do much of anything. It took weeks and even months to get back on my feet after doing a small thing such as going out to dinner. I have even had to be wheeled around in a wheelchair because I couldn't walk. I always felt rotten like I had a flu - achy, nauseous, headache, dopey, confused, depressed, and exhausted.

That is the key - exhausted. I finally realized that I was simply exhausted. In the old days they might have said, "You broke your health", or "You had a nervous breakdown". Addison's disease caused by exhaustion (not caused by illness or injury) is when the adrenal glands are worn out by too much stress and just can't keep up the high level of production of cortisone needed to cope with all the stress you are experiencing. Eventually, the glands quit, and then they say you have Addison's disease. It isn't something that just happens to you, or you catch; it is the consequence of being constantly over-stressed.

Can Diabetes be related to Addison's Disease?

Yes, definitely. The cortisone normally produced by the adrenal glands helps to control your blood sugar. When you adrenal glands begin to fail, your cortisone production fails and therefore you blood sugar drops. If you take cortisone or hydrocortisone it will cause your blood sugar to go up. If you are taking too much cortisone, your blood sugar will be elevated and you will be in a pre-diabetic state. If you continue taking an overdose of cortisone, then you could become a diabetic. My blood sugar was low when I was exhausted and rose when my adrenal glands began to heal.

If you are taking cortisone and your blood sugar starts to go up, check with your doctor. You may be healing and don't need to take as much cortisone. It can be a good sign.

If you are on cortisone you need to check your blood sugar frequently (at least once a week) to make sure you are not getting an overdose of your medicine.

Remember that you can have Diabetes unrelated to Addison's Disease. Ask your doctor to test and see what is happening with you.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

How do I know if I have Addison's Disease?

If after looking at the symptoms listed in this blog, you feel you might have Addison's Disease, contact your doctor. There is a blood test which shows the level of cortisone in your body. If it is below a certain point, you are considered to have Addisons Disease. There is also a saliva test which shows your level of cortisone production at various times of the day. You don't have to wonder or argue with doctors or others. You can know definitely how your adrenal glands are doing and start the necessary treatment if you have this problem. If the production is low, you can begin making the changes you need to minimize the stress in your life and avoid possibly developing Addison's Disease. If your cortisone level is normal, then you can begin looking for other reasons for your illness.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

I'm Still Here!

Though my adrenal glands are working now, I know I will always have to be very careful in my life or I can over stress my adrenals again and be back where I was before. Will I ever forget the lessons I learned while I had Addison's Disease? No! I am still here to answer the questions you might have and to offer encouragement to you who have stressed adrenal glands. If you have had a tumor, or some other damage to your adrenal glands, cutting down your stress and carefully managing your medications will help you feel better, but your adrenal glands will probably not function again. Most of us suffer damage to our adrenals by the incredible amount of stress we experience in our lives. My doctor told me that if my adrenal glands were not destroyed but only suppressed by some stress, they could heal if I could find the source of the stress and eliminate it. I confess that I was very skeptical. I had been so ill for so long. I was afraid to hope. It took me years, and a lot of help from the Lord, but I finally learned that I had many allergies, chemical sensitivities, extensive mold in my basement, and many negative relationships. When I eliminated this huge weight of stress, my adrenal glands did heal! If you have any questions about living with Addison's Disease, low adrenal function, or about healing, remember, "I am still here!"

Friday, August 7, 2015

My Adrenal Glands Have Healed!

Yes! It is true! I have been completely off all adrenal medicine (Hydrocortisone and Fludrucort) since June 28, 2015, nearly 6 weeks!. I wanted to make sure I could function well without the medicine, before I told you. I know you might be thinking that it is impossible to heal from Addison's Disease, but I am living proof that you can heal your adrenal glands. I was tested many years ago and the blood test showed that I had "no detectable level of cortisone".  My adrenal glands were not functioning much at all. I was told that I had Addison's Disease, and I was put on a complete replacement dose of hydrocortisone. For twelve years I took hydrocortisone and fludrocort to keep me alive, and now my adrenal glands are managing on their own. How did this happen?

A friend asked me today, "So stress has made you so sick, not lack of adrenal function, sensitivity to plastics, perfumes and dyes. Wow and how did you figure it out then?"

This is my answer.

How I Cut Stress in my Life

I have been working at cutting stress for years. Enabling your adrenal glands to heal (if they are just stressed and not damaged) is a matter of figuring out what stresses you and cutting them out.  

First, I tried to avoid everything I was allergic to.

I didn't eat foods I was allergic to.
I rotated my foods carefully.
I ate a balanced Diabetic diet.
I only ate organic foods and drank filtered water.
I diligently took my allergy medicine and avoided things I was allergic to. 
I avoided perfumes and chemicals.

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 I can't see straight"), coldness, shakiness, and staring blankly are far beyond normal "tiredness".  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.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Low Back Pain

I was asked if I get low back pain. Yes, sometimes.

When I get lower back pain I know that I am very worn down and need to increase my hydrocortisone or I will soon have an Addison's crisis.

Hot Sweats

I was asked if I ever get hot sweats. Yes!

I find that I have more hot sweats when my cortisone level is low. When I am well rested, have adrenal reserves built up, and am feeling relaxed, I only have a few a day. Mainly I get hot a little while after eating, when I'm very tired, and when I get under the covers in bed. Without the normal adrenal regulation, I have trouble regulating body temperature. The normal small rise in body temperature become a large rise for me. I dress in layers and adjust for my changing temperature which helps keep it more moderate.