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Thyroid UK
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How best to approach checking adrenal status?

Hi all. I've spoken on numerous occasion of my experience with long term undiagnosed hypothyroidism - eventually overtaken by secondary illness and a thyroid cancer.

Post thyroidectomy in 2005 i'm by now at a point where while my health is not bad i still struggle for energy and lack drive. Trouble is (that while at one level i'm just happy to still be alive) i need to up the output from my one man business - it's hard times over here. Hence the health improvement drive.

I've posted in recent weeks of experiencing an improvement in bounce by increasing the proportion of T3 i'm taking - T4 definitely causes lethargy, reduced energy and low motivation.

My adrenal status has never been investigated other than by screening for the major diseases (told i was normal') when i was in hospital with the cancer - and the endo involved was old (retired months later), very conservative, and not remotely interested in considering issues of wellbeing or recent thinking on metabolic disease.

The hospital admission was triggered by very high blood pressure (which turned out to have been caused by clotting in a renal artery), my adrenal hormone levels were then at times high enough that for quite a while they suspected and treated me for an adrenal tumour - a pheochromocytoma.

I was screened for diabetes, kidney function and the like then too. (all 'normal')

I meanwhile have ongoing blood pressure trouble and have had a life long tendency to what seems to be hypoglycaemia (weakness after exercise caused by low blood sugar) - the former seems primarily to be adrenal related. Even quite moderate stress can (if sustained) leave the BP dangerously high (hypertensive emergency/hospital admission territory), while beta blockers seem to be the only medication that has much effect on it.

Speculating it seems like my adrenal hormone levels may be prone to surging - to tend to be low, but to build rapidly with stress.

I guess i'm wondering if (given the fairly minimal attention its received in metabolic/well being terms) it's possible that a more progressive view might conclude that I have some sort of adrenal issue - hopefully one that's capable of treatment.

I'd appreciate your input - especially to hear if my profile rings any bells in terms of diagnosis and treatment.

I'm cautious that if i raise the issue with my new endo he'll apply standard criteria/crude thinking and again conclude all is normal as he did in 2011 following my most recent hospital admission for high blood pressure...



6 Replies

Ian, if you've any suspicion you have weak adrenals get an adrenal stress test done. One needs to know what ones dealing with here.



Hi Simon, ta for that. Will take a dig. My caution was that in these situations it seems often that there's tests that work (from the point of view of guiding 'wellness' treatment), and others that the system uses that may only be very coarse screens used for diagnosis of the grossest forms of illness.



...and thats why i use the proven and much recommended Adrenal Stress Test...by say Geneva :0)


That's the info i was looking for Simon. Thank you.



ian, this reminds me of a case of a friend. Although the patient was a young teen/adult at the time when her renal high blood pressure was discovered. They had to put a shunt near her spinal cord to relieve pressure. She is doing well now. I think this was congenital condition and I don't know if there was a name for it but you'd probably need special testing for this if you think it may be relevant.


Thanks Heloise. For sure restricted blood supply to a kidney can drive blood pressure through the roof - that was what put me down first time around.

The original scan (angiogram?) that detected the clot in the renal artery when i got seriously ill back in 2004/5 seemed to suggest that it was a bit oddly laid out - like it had a tight bend.

The clot supposedly resolved after treatment with anti coagulants, subsequent scans i was told failed to detect any abnormality.

It's possible i guess that there is some physical cause lurking in there that was missed...



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