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.