- With Mayo Clinic endocrinologist
Todd B. Nippoldt, M.D.read biographyclose window
Todd B. Nippoldt, M.D.Todd Nippoldt, M.D.
Dr. Todd Nippoldt is a board-certified specialist in internal medicine and endocrinology and metabolism. He has special expertise in the area of hormone disorders affecting the pituitary and adrenal glands as well as the testes and ovaries. He has been a member of the Mayo Clinic staff since 1988.
He's a consultant in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nutrition and works with patients who have disorders of the hormone-producing glands. Common disorders include diabetes, thyroid problems, osteoporosis and elevated cholesterol levels.
He's also involved in andrology, the study of male hormonal disorders, male infertility and male sexual dysfunction, and is an assistant professor of medicine at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Nippoldt, a St. Paul, Minn., native, has also contributed to "Mayo Clinic Health Letter," the "Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and a Mayo Clinic CD-ROM. He's a fellow in the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Society of Andrology, The Endocrine Society, The Pituitary Society and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.
"I have found that those patients who have gone to the Internet and obtained accurate medical information come to their appointment with me very well informed, and the discussions regarding the evaluation and management of their condition are very productive and satisfying," he says.
"The key, however, is obtaining accurate medical information. As a medical editor, I hope to be able to ensure that accurate, relevant and up-to-date information is available for patients and their families."
- Adrenal fatigue: What causes it?
- Salt craving: A symptom of Addison's disease?
Adrenal fatigue: What causes it?
Is there such a thing as adrenal fatigue?
from Todd B. Nippoldt, M.D.
Adrenal fatigue is a term applied to a collection of nonspecific symptoms, such as body aches, fatigue, nervousness, sleep disturbances and digestive problems. The term often shows up in popular health books and on alternative medicine websites, but it isn't an accepted medical diagnosis.
Your adrenal glands produce a variety of hormones that are essential to life. The medical term adrenal insufficiency, or Addison's disease, refers to inadequate production of one or more of these hormones as a result of an underlying disease.
Signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency include:
- Body aches
- Unexplained weight loss
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of body hair
Adrenal insufficiency can be diagnosed by blood tests and special stimulation tests that show inadequate levels of adrenal hormones.
Proponents of the adrenal fatigue diagnosis claim this is a mild form of adrenal insufficiency caused by chronic stress. The unproven theory behind adrenal fatigue is that your adrenal glands are unable to keep pace with the demands of perpetual fight-or-flight arousal. As a result, they can't produce quite enough of the hormones you need to feel good. Existing blood tests, according to this theory, aren't sensitive enough to detect such a small decline in adrenal function — but your body is.
It's frustrating to have persistent symptoms your doctor can't readily explain. But accepting a medically unrecognized diagnosis from an unqualified practitioner could be worse. Unproven remedies for so-called adrenal fatigue may leave you feeling sicker, while the real cause — such as depression or fibromyalgia — continues to take its toll.Next question
Salt craving: A symptom of Addison's disease?
- Nieman LK. Clinical manifestation of adrenal insufficiency in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Feb. 25, 2011.
- Nieman LK. Diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Feb. 25, 2011.
- Addison's disease (primary or chronic adrenocortical insufficiency). The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec12/ch153/ch153b.html. Accessed Feb. 25, 2011.
- Nippoldt TB (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 2, 2011.
- Head KA, et al. Nutrients and botanicals for treatment of stress: Adrenal fatigue, neurotransmitter imbalance, anxiety, and restless sleep. Alternative Medicine Review. 2009;14:114.
- Adrenal insufficiency and Addison's disease. National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service. http://www.endocrine.niddk.nih.gov/pubs/addison/addison.htm. Accessed March 2, 2011.
- Freeman J. Adrenal Fatigue — An interview with Todd Nippoldt. Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource. 2010;14:6.