Adrenal Testing & Will Your Doctor even DO The test....
We are going to move swiftly through this 'Mini-Series' on Adrenal Health & all references can be found at www.stopthethyroidmadness.com
To your left is the circadiam rhythm of your cortisol levels (Cortisol Levels - AKA...How are your adrenals are holdin' up). This is the results of a 'saliva' test done by one of the doctor's that I mentioned to you.
1) Is saliva testing as accurate as blood labs for cortisol levels? Yes. Here is an article citing many medical referenceshttp://www.diagnostechs.com/mainFrame.asp?refPage=http://www.diagnostechs.com/body_text/articles.htm2) How can I produce all of that saliva to fill up the tubes? Sniff on a jar of pickles, relish, or a lemon. Dr Peatfield says to do the test under routine stress conditions, not on a relaxing day off.
3 ) Can I test my cortisol levels if I am taking HC or Isocort or other adrenal glandular? No. the medicine will throw off the result of the test. http://www.macses.ucsf.edu/Research/Allostatic/notebook/FAQs-salivcort.pdf4) Will my Dr agree with the 24 hour cortisol test (saliva testing)? Mine did, he had the saliva lab boxes right in his office. You may have to drive to a larger city to find a doctor familiar with treating adrenal fatigue. You can order the lab test yourself, see what result comes back, and learn as much as you can about this condition so you will be an educated partner in your health care.
5) Will my Dr agree to treat my adrenals? Dr. Lam says “Unfortunately, conventional medicine only recognizes Addison’s disease as hypoadrenia, despite the fact that adrenal fatigue is a fully recognizable condition. As such, do not be surprised if your doctor is unfamiliar with this condition.”http://www.drlam.com/A3R_brief_in_doc_format/adrenal_fatigue.cfm
Some members, especially those that are shackled by the constraints of “health insurance” approvals, have difficulty when their doctor doesn’t recognize their condition. Please review this page http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/how-to-find-a-good-doc/ You can ask if the doctor is familiar with the book “Safe uses of Cortisol” by Dr Jefferies http://www.ccthomas.com/details.cfm?P_ISBN13=9780398075002 or the books by Dr Peatfieldhttp://featherstone.bravehost.com/thyroid/peatfieldadrenal.html6) Can you help me understand my 24 hour cortisol saliva labs? A normal cortisol rhythm is highest in the morning, tapering off later in the day. In the early stages of adrenal fatigue, there can be excessively high levels of cortisol as the body responds to stress. Dr Lam explains the stress response herehttp://www.drlam.com/A3R_brief_in_doc_format/adrenal_fatigue.cfm
STTM has a good explanation of lab results here.
As adrenal fatigue progresses, the cortisol rhythm becomes disrupted, and often “flattens out”. This can happen even with somewhat normal levels of cortisol being produced – but the “below normal” morning cortisol tends to indicate that there is a problem. Often the person lacks adrenal reserve. During times of stress the adrenals cannot produce the extra cortisol required by the body.
As the problem gets worse, the “flattened” cortisol rhythm becomes so severe that the pattern is “flat-lining” closer to the bottom of the chart. This person could be said to have Adrenal Failure, also known as Adrenal Insufficiency. The combined cortisol readings of all 4 points of the day (called the “cortisol burden”) will be below normal range. As the adrenal fatigue progresses, the amounts of DHEA produced by the adrenals often become lower as well. Dr Lam’s article explains the reason for this. Low DHEA can be a clue to the condition of the adrenals.