Thyroid UK
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Cortisol, ACTH, Aldosterone and DHEA


I have had my cortisol and acth levels tested (both very low), however, it has ben suggested that I have my Aldosterone and DHEA tested. I am taking a very small ammount (2.5 twice a day and 1.25 at T-time) of Predisone). Have been taking this med, plus 100 micrograms of thyroixine. (but need to change this brand as it has got "quintone yellow" which I am allergic too!)

The question I am asking is why do I need these tests?? and I am really woried that I have a Piturity tumour???

Regards Ollybear

3 Replies

How low were the results and was it done in the AM or when those numbers should be higher? I often wonder why my test was done way before i normally wake up. Who is doing these Endo? I hear you need a Pituitary Specialist for this stuff. Aldosterone and Dhea come from mostly Adrenal Glands and your issue is Pituitary. My DHEA is low, Aldosterone is usually ok in Pituitary cases. I would have the tests done to be sure you don't need either. Have you had an Adrenal Stim test done? 2.5 Pred 2x daily, is normal dosing for Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency. Are you puffy around the eyes, have headaches or blurred vision? should have an MRI of the Pituitary to see why it isn't functioning properly. I have a squished pituitary and have not been thoroughly evaluated for hormones and am on no cortisol replacement as it all made me swell and my bp went too high, gained weight every week. How do you feel when not on any Pred..what are your symptoms? Maybe we can learn from one another.


Hi Faith,

Thanks for replying. I had the tests done by "Blue Horizon" AM - When I eventually got there ! It took me from 8.00 AM to 10.30 AM - hence, test done at 10.30 AM. Which revealed Cortisol really low 276 and ACTH very low - 12 (COMPLETED IN NOVEMBER 2014).

I then had a cortisol test completed via GP - this was at 8.30 AM and cortisol level was 542? (no ACTh done - via NHS - wont do this test via GP) My Gp said that this result of the Cortisol level was............wait for it............within range!!!

***( Previous to Went to see an Endo - awful experience..........said my TSH level at 5 was fine !! and wrote me off as yet another victim of M.E - and tried to arrange me to go to an M.E. clinic in Manchester .........I was so upset.************ forgot to mention this part.

I have now decided to try and go private (had to borrow money). have spoke to Dr Chandy (b12 organsiation). He could not beleive that my GP and endo said my TSH level was OK......which was 5!! (taking 100 micrograms levothyroxine - I suppose this will take time to work too...used to take NDT but I wasnt taking enough and felt very anxious when I upped the dose ------apparently this happens when Adrena; glands are not working properly??

Anyway, going back to test results (cortisol and ACTH) was told that had secondary adrenal far...... now taking 2.5 micro grams of Prednisone - but will this put weight on?? I am trying to lose weight as it is - 5 stone over weight at the moment.

And yes I get terrible headache's, blared vision (had eye test - need stronger glasses but no problems?).....I am quite worried about my vision..... Do get blurred vision a lot more now and the headaches are constant...feels like there is a band around my head............ but could this be sinus or allergies which I am very prone too?. or anxiety - I am also going through the menopause (have been for the last x 5 years) - which is awlful.

What is an "Adrenal Stim" test?? Ive heard of it but not sure what it is. Also, just started taking Prednisone 2.5 micrograms per day........It helped when I first administred these (ie, first day felt really good), but now feel quite unwell.....

I am so worried that I may have a Piturity tumour. I am so confused at the moment and quite scared.....

You state you have a "squished pituritary" How does this affect you? Howdid you find this out? I presume you have had your B12, TSH, Vit D, ferritin and folic acid tests done? Im sorry if this seems patronising but I dont really know you yet...

What is the next stage for you? You stated that you put weight on with cortisol relplacement? I was told that it does not put on weight?? (the amount I am on?)...You do need to get a through evaluation regarding your hormones..........What is your TSH (and t4 - t3 like? What symptons are you getting at this moment?

Let me know, and thankyou again for your support......I am so sorry to burden you with the above........


You are no bother..i just may answer in short multiple emails.

Please don't be scarred by anything i say. The good news is that, if you did have a tumor, it would be benign..they are rarely anything else. Also, most Tumors cause high maybe you have some other issue.

What are the ranges for the tests..i know your TSH is high, which means the Thyroid Gland itself is failing or TSH would be very low and so would the free t's. Do you have Hashimotos? I do and my Thyroid has stopped working. You need to know if you have this Autoimmune Disease or not.

Here is a link for info on ACTH Stim Test

M E is @#$%..i understand why you are so upset. Please email Louise on here for a good doctors list. I think her last name is Warvil? Someone must administration for help.

I had an MRI of my Pituitary when i developed a Migraine that lasted 2 weeks!! It was the first thing the Endo did...he knew the signs. Then, he did a AM ACTH and Cortisol, ..which were both low. Aldoseterone normal, DHEA low. He put me on HC and i gained 2 lbs per week and my bp got too high, after months of trying a low dose, i then switched to pred, which caused me to get hot all over, weight gain and high bp too, then Medrol..high bp and blood sugar. So i stopped, all, after 7 months. Even at tiny doses i had symptoms..but i was not medicated correctly on thyroid. You need to see a doctor. You need to get an MRI to see what is wrong with your Pituitary. Pituitary issues can spread to an area called the Optic Chiasm and cause blurred vision. You really need to see someone and find out why this is happening. Have you had any head injuries recently? My optic area is ok..thank goodness, but my vision got bad because of Hashimoto and being meds are not working right. Your headache can be caused by being Hypo and the Pituitary issue..depending on what is wrong..i do not believe it is the other reasons, like Anxiety or Sinus. If it is a cerebral spinal fluid is the worst you have ever had, so i have heard.

I have had Ferritin ..all of it done..been to 20 doctors and i really hate doctors. I got my iron and vit d up from extremely low levels and felt no different. I will end up at a Pituitary Specialist in another state, i am sure, eventually.

After trying every thyroid med out there..i am now on t3 only as i don't convert the t4 in Levo. it would be wise for you to get a reverse t3 test while you are at it. Do you have any thyroid labs that you can post ? I hope you have had a free t3 done too?!!! My TSH is like 0.003 my ft4 is way below range, my ft3 was 3.7, last time i checked. I have found that thyroid labs are of no value now..they don't correspond with my symptoms too well.

I am swollen and my belly is bigger, my weight should be a lot less than it is.. i have a slight dizzy feeling, my skin won't pinch easily [myxedema] areas of pain in my body, insomnia, high blood sugar, headaches, heart racing when trying to sleep, episodes of light sensitivity, blurred vision, slow digestion..and quite a few more.


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