Patient Comments: Addison's Disease - Symptoms

What were your symptoms at the onset of your Addison's disease?

Comment from: LongIslandImmunoProb, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: May 20

When I was in high school, I was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and ulcerative colitis (UC). After high school, I started doing much better, but by the time I was 25, I began sitting down to urinate due to exhaustion (which is weird because I'm a guy). I began having intestinal pains that the doctors chalked up to my ulcerative colitis. My skin began showing huge dark purple spots by my rib cage and on my legs. I became uber-tan, and I began to notice that unexposed areas of skin were as well. My mood went to hell, and I began lashing out at odd times. One day I got ready for work, felt sick and threw up for 10 hours. I stayed in bed for 10 days, intermittently seeing doctors who brushed me off. I threw up for many days and lost more than 20 pounds. I had a wicked sore throat. This went on for around four months. I missed a total of two weeks of work. The doctors said that I tested positive for influenza. I went in for an annual colonoscopy for the UC and was having a hard time breathing. I was also speaking very slowly and softly. I was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with Addison's disease after an ACTH injection.

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Comment from: Vicki , 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 26

I had bronze skin, with darker areas on nipple, mucous membranes, mouth, ankles, joints, etc. Also, nausea and vomiting occurred frequently, with almost no appetite. I lived on chicken noodle soup, peanut butter on a spoon, crackers and bread with butter on each piece. Sudden, very painful aches or cramps were frequently occurring in my abdominal area, stomach and sides and in my legs and feet. Tiredness and fatigue were constant, even in the mornings after a night of deep sleep, sometimes 10 and 12 hours a night. I just couldn't get going in the mornings. Right before diagnosis, I couldn't stand up longer than 5 minutes when cooking and couldn't run the vacuum cleaner or make beds for longer than 2 or 3 minutes. I had a desk job and not much energy was expended for each work day, on the days that nausea left me alone. During this period, I wrote a detailed business plan and presented it at several upper administrative meetings for the construction of a new testing lab for our office. It was accepted, even though half the time, my brain wasn't functioning very well. After diagnosis, I was flabbergasted that I had pushed myself so hard to succeed. The first week of taking hydrocortisone and fludrocortisone, I felt like a new person, 20 years younger. Everyone morning, I just hollered with joy while singing at the top of my lungs. It is great to feel well again, even with the side effects of the medications.

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Comment from: reno911, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: December 05

I have had Addison's disease for almost 4 years. This week I have felt very weak, tired and dizzy with nausea and headaches. I could barely take a shower without being out of breath. I went to the hospital last night. Doctors did all kinds of blood work, EKG and x-ray; they said everything seems normal. But I still feel awful, like I'm going through an Addison's crisis.

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Comment from: AUgrad, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: November 05

I was diagnosed with Addison's disease when I was around 7 years old. For about a year, I had issues with fatigue and stomach pains. I would be in class and just fall out of my desk and then fall asleep in the back of the classroom where my teacher had been. I would not want to go outside, I would throw up repeatedly. My mother took me to the doctor multiple times during these symptoms. Every time, the doctor would reply that I looked healthy and I probably just did not like school. (I still had straight As.) It got to the point where my school expelled me until I had a clean bill of health. My mother went to my doctor and demanded he do blood work. We went back home, and the next day I was listless, tired, and puking a lot. The doctor called with the blood results and told them to rush me to the hospital. I was in an adrenal crisis. After I started the steroids, I was fine. I still love salt though!

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Comment from: Lisa, 35-44 Female (Caregiver) Published: October 15

My sister just died of Addison's disease. She had extreme exhaustion, vomiting, couldn't keep anything down. She was in and out of the hospital, sometimes three months, sometimes two weeks. We will miss her. She had this disease for two years. She was 45 years old.

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Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 14

I was in a car accident and suffered a concussion. I was sent home and told to rest for a week. My health began to decline, and I went to my family doctor. I was having difficulty walking, speaking, experienced confusion, severe headaches, rapid weight loss, and was sleeping 18-20 hours a day. He referred me to a neurologist. The neurologist immediately sent me to the ER. I began vomiting and my blood pressure was extremely low. I was given cortisone Iv's and my condition rapidly improved. Tests were done and it was determined that I had Addison's. For the past 20 years, I have had similar symptoms, although never as severe doctors chalked it up to depression, anorexia, low blood pressure, and that I was a hypochondriac. I still experience the fatigue, and there are still days when I have to lie down and rest. I also have to adjust my cortisone even for minor illnesses such as colds and dental procedures. My immune system is also not what it should be. I was a teacher and caught everything the kids brought in. It has been over a year and my dosage is anywhere from 25 to 40 mil. per day. Wish I could lower it, but my endocrinologist says that my tests are coming out normal on the higher dosage so I can't taper off just yet.

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Addison's Disease - Treatments Question: What was the treatment for your Addison's disease?
Addison's Disease - Share Your Experience Question: Were you or someone you know diagnosed with Addison's disease? Please share your experience.
Addison's Disease - Causes Question: If known, what was the cause of Addison's disease in you or a relative?

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