How do I know if I have underactive adrenal glands?

Keith Roach, MD
Internal Medicine
The definitive test for Addison’s disease is an ACTH stimulation test, commonly called a “stim test." ACTH, a hormone made by the pituitary, is injected into the body and cortisone levels are measured before and after. Occasionally, more sophisticated tests, such as the CRH stimulation test and the insulin-induced hypoglycemia test, are used for less common forms of adrenal insufficiency.

The diagnosis of “adrenal fatigue” is made by some alternative providers for symptoms of fatigue with normal adrenal function by lab testing.
Dr. Robin Miller, MD
Internal Medicine
Symptoms of underactive adrenal glands are:
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Low blood pressure
  • Lightheadedness
  • Hair loss
  • Skin discoloration (hyperpigmentation) 
Diagnosis is made with blood tests that reflect the level of adrenal hormones in the body.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.