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Thyroid Diseases

Could I Have Addison's Disease?

08/03/2007

Question:

My blood cortisol level taken at 8am was 12.5 ug/dL (reference range 10.4 - 26.4) and I am on estradiol after having a hysterectomy (also had ovaries removed). My cousin recently went into an adrenal crisis and was diagnosed with Addison`s. My symptoms are: cold sensitivity, weakness, tiredness, stomach ache (mild)), mild diarrhea & constipation, salt craving, inside of upper lip is orange, less hair on legs, and my blood pressure is low (110/58). Is there a chance I have Addison`s? And if so, what tests should my doctor do?

Answer:

Your symptoms could possibly be Addison's disease, because the symptoms of Addison's disease can be very vague and non-specific. However, there is nothing in your symptom complex that is especially suggestive of Addison's disease. The normal AM cortisol also makes it less likely that you have Addison's disease, but doesn't completely rule it out. The test that you would need to rule out Addison's disease is a cosyntropin stimulation test. This is a simple test in which a medication is injected into your vein, and then blood is drawn 30 and 60 minutes later. You might need to see an endocrinologist for this test.

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Response by:

Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University