Adrenal Insufficiency

I got an email from a visitor sharing about adrenal insufficiency which I decided to go ahead & share here in case any visitors may want to learn more about it.

"I have read two wonderful books about it that recently came out- both written by doctors. One is called Thyroid Power and the other is The Thyroid Solution. I was able to get both at the library. The first is all the technical stuff, the second primarily deals with the mental problems low thyroid causes. In the book Thyroid Power there is a section about adrenal insufficiency. It is also called secondary addison's disease, secondary because it isn't the full blown disease. This very well may be the link between the balance of T4's and T3's as the adrenal glands are 'supposed' to produce cortisol that help in the conversion and absorption of T3. This is also how the body is 'supposed' to adapt when we are under more stress. You can also find a lot of info on line about it. Since we already have antibodies against our thyroids it is highly probable our adrenal glands are being attacked as well. You can also have a blood test to detect for those kinds of antibodies. I have not been tested yet for this myself, I have only been on medication for a few days as it is. One symptom is soreness of your back right above your kidneys- this is from the enlargement of the adrenal glands which sit on top of your kidneys. Another symptom is being a 'salt loser'. This is marked by dry skin just like with low thyroid. This also causes thin eyebrow hair due to the excessive salt in perspiration. It also causes your skin to be very sensitive because it is already irritated from the salt. I have noticed that my eyebrows often feel sandy. I had always thought it was caused by my makeup! But it is the excess salt building up in my eyebrows. This problem causes water retention because your body is desperately trying to keep what little salt it has left. This causes you to urinate frequently in small amounts or go for very long periods of time without going to the bathroom at all. You can test yourself by drinking some salt water, see if it makes you feel better and if you end up urinating more. I decided to drink some gatorade to see if it would make me feel better- this was before I had started thyroid medication. It surely did! The gatorade in particular has much more sodium and potassium than other brands. Unfortunately it is very temporary but it does indicate a possible problem with the adrenal glands."


ADDISON'S DISEASE: THE FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW "Addison's disease is a severe or total deficiency of the hormones made in the adrenal cortex, caused by a destruction of the adrenal cortex. There are normally two adrenal glands, located above each kidney. The adrenal glands are really two endocrine ( ductless or hormone producing ) glands in one. The inner part of the adrenal ( called the medulla ) produces epinephrine ( also called adrenaline ) which is produced at times of stress and helps the body respond to "fight or flight" situations by raising the pulse rate, adjusting blood flow, and raising blood sugar. However, the absence of the adrenal medulla and epinephrine does not cause disease.

In contrast, the outer portion of the adrenal, the cortex, is more critical. The adrenal cortex makes two important steroid hormones, cortisol and aldosterone. Cortisol mobilizes nutrients, modifies the body's response to inflammation, stimulates the liver to raise the blood sugar, and also helps to control the amount of water in the body. Aldosterone regulates salt and water levels which affects blood volume and blood pressure. Cortisol production is regulated by another hormone, adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), made in the pituitary gland which is located just below the brain. Classical Addison's disease results from a loss of both cortisol and aldosterone secretion due to the near total or total destruction of both adrenal glands. This condition is also called primary adrenal insufficiency. If ACTH is deficient, there will not be enough cortisol produced, although aldosterone may remain adequate. This is secondary adrenal insufficiency, which is distinctly different, but similar to Addison's disease, since both include a loss of cortisol secretion."

Addison's disease "Addison's disease is a rare endocrine or hormonal disorder that affects about 1 in 100,000 people. It occurs in all age groups and afflicts men and women equally. The disease is characterized by weight loss, muscle weakness, fatigue, low blood pressure, and sometimes darkening of the skin in both exposed and nonexposed parts of the body." Site includes Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, ACTH Stimulation Test, Insulin-Induced Hypoglycemia Test, Other Tests, Treatment, Special Problems, Patient Education, Suggested Reading & Other Resources.

ADDISON"S DISEASE "Primary adrenal failure may be the result of congenital or acquired lesions. In the early part of this century tuberculosis was the most common cause, but in recent years this infection has accounted for less than 25% of all cases. Other conditions that have been associated with adrenal insufficiency include coccidioidomycosis, histoplasmosis, blastomycosis, torulosis, metastatic malignancy, and hemorrhage. However, in recent years it appears that most cases represent the outcome of an autoimmune process. Renal insufficiency attributed to autoimmune phenomenon are thought to be associated the- - - - - - - - - - - other endocrine glands. These oliendrcrine syndromes may be divided into two types. Type I is usually seen in early life and is associated with mucocutaneous candidiasis and hypoparathyroidism with a low frequency of insulin- dependent diabetes mellitus or thyroid deficiency. Pernicious anemia is occasionally seen in this form. Type II occurs in middle life with a strong association with insulin- dependent diabetes mellitus and thyroid deficiency."

National Adrenal Diseases Foundation "The National Adrenal Diseases Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing support, information and education to individuals having Addison's disease as well as other diseases of the adrenal glands. Individuals suffering from Addison's disease are often misdiagnosed or go for long painful periods without proper diagnosis. Symptoms of these diseases often mirror those of chronic fatigue syndrome including steadily worsening fatigue, a loss of appetite and some weight loss. Blood pressure is low and falls further when a person is standing, producing lightheadedness. Because of salt loss, a craving for salty foods is common. And, a darkening of the skin that may look like an inappropriate tan on a person who feels ill, can be produced. Individuals with Addison's disease or another disease of the adrenal glands can expect to live a normal life as long as the proper medical care is received and the correct dose of replacement medication is taken every day.

NADF is committed to bringing information regarding these rare diseases into the public's awareness to facilitate early diagnosis and treatment. NADF sponsors support groups across the country allowing for an exchange of ideas and feelings by individuals who share a common illness. NADF members receive quarterly newsletters, educational materials, and access to a library of related information . NADF does not receive funding from the Federal Government, United Way or other agencies."