Tuesday, October 18, 2016

If my Thyroid is low, could I also have low Adrenal?

"I am a 75 year old female trying to understand my symptoms: I wake aching all over body, not feeling awake and unable to function physically or mentally until much later in the day. I do not feel "normal" until evening, and feel my best about 9 or 10 pm. I have gained 10 lbs in less than 4 months. I am not able to cope with stress as well as about 2 years ago. I feel extreme fatigue and an warm to hot when I wake up and don't cool down until much later in the day. I do have low thyroid and take Levothyroxin. Could I have adrenal issues?"
Since each part of the Endocrine system affects the other, it is possible that you might have lowered Adrenal Function if you have low thyroid function. In fact, it is likely. All my endocrine system functioned at a low level. When tested, I always had a bit low production of thyroid hormones, and I always had trouble with keeping my blood sugar balanced. Nothing was to the point where I needed medication, but low enough to make me have blood sugar ups and downs (pancreatic hormones), and make me feel more cold and tired (thyroid hormones). Also the adrenal glands, a long with most parts of us, don't work as well when we are older. Many of our commonly accepted aging symptoms are actually our bodies slowing down, especially our adrenal glands.

The very slow start in the mornings and getting more and more alert and "normal" by evening is a common symptom of low adrenal function, as is the inability to cope with stress (sometimes all I could do was stare or cry).  Low adrenal function can also affect your body temperature.

Both the thyroid glands and the adrenal glands affect body temperature, fatigue, joint and muscle aches, depression, and weight gain. Your thyroid medication might also affect your body temperature. Low thyroid (or any problem with your body not functioning well) will stress your adrenal glands.

You will want to discuss your problems with your doctor. He can test both your thyroid and your adrenal hormone levels.  It is possible that you may just be experiencing low thyroid, or you may also have some low adrenal symptoms, or you may need to have your thyroid medicine adjusted. Remember that as you get your thyroid in good control, your adrenal glands should also improve.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Dealing with Difficulty Eating

A woman asks "Do you know anything about dealing with lack of hunger from stress? I know that especially with Addison's if I get stressed to the point of anxiety, I can't eat, and if I can't eat, it increases my stress, and it becomes a big endless cycle."

I wasn't diagnosed with Addison's when I was young. Though Dr Addison discovered the disease in 1849, testing and treatment for Addison's Disease was rarely done until the later 1990's, I was always tired and felt ill as a child, but since I never had a dramatic Addison's Crisis, nothing was ever done. My family does have a history of various auto-immune diseases and high stress, but it wasn't until I was older and had collapsed, that I began medication for Addison's Disease.

All of my life I have dealt with nausea that is a symptom of being over-stressed. I can confirm that not only does not eating increase stress, it can sure make you sick. When you don't have the vitamins and minerals your body needs to respond to the stresses it has to cope with, you do begin a downward cycle. It will also make you far more vulnerable to stress in the future. You will feel more and more ill until you finally collapse in exhaustion.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Will the dark patches go away?

A woman wants to know if the darker patches of skin color will go away. One of the early symptoms of Addison's Disease is darkening of skin especially on your face and in skin folds. Hyperpigmentation should go away when you take enough cortisone so that your body is not producing excessive amount of ATCH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone) in an effort to stimulate the adrenal glands.

I could always tell when I needed to take more medication because my face would turn a deep rose color. When I got my medicine up to an adequate level, the rosiness would go away. I am not as pale as I used to be when I was younger, but my skin is pretty normal now.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Tests for Low Adrenal Function

Here are some good sites that tell about the tests available to help diagnose low adrenal function. I had a blood test which showed that my body produced "no detectable level of cortisone".  My doctor also listen to my symptoms and we decided to try a test of my taking a small amount of hydrocortisone. Nothing else had made any difference in how I felt, but in desperation, I decided to give it a try. Since I immediately felt considerably better, it seemed likely that my adrenal glands were not producing enough cortisone. We checked.  I had a blood test which showed that my body produced "no detectable level of cortisone". It was conclusive, I had Addison's disease.

One of the best places for information on Addison's Disease can be found at the UK Addison's Disease Self Help Group

I also have found Dr. Wilson's work very helpful

Monday, July 25, 2016

Will traveling with Addison's Disease make you tired?

A woman, who has had Addison's for 7 years, told me, " I love to travel but now I'm just traveling 2-4 hours away to see family and friends or for conferences. I am often exhausted after these trips...especially the professional ones. I don't feel tired or like I'm pushing myself during the trips but when I get home I end up sleeping most of the day for a day or two."

Remember that your adrenal glands help you deal with change by adjusting such things as blood pressure, blood sugar, metabolism, and temperature. Even with medication, a person with Addison's disease will not function as well as a person has normal adrenal glands.

Imagine a person with diabetics. Now think of them eating a large piece of cake. What will happen? They will become very ill! Why? Because they did not have the insulin they needed for the amount of sugar they ate.

How do you deal with being completely dependent on medication to live?

A woman shared this, " the greatest challenge has not been in physically, but in mentally accepting the realization that I am dependent on a medication, without which I would die. I have a strong faith and spiritual support system, but would still welcome any comfort or wisdom you might have to share regarding the panic and negative thoughts that can feel overwhelming at times."

I agree that it is hard to accept that you will die if you don't have your cortisone. At times, I was afraid. Faith and prayer help to keep me going and comfort me when I felt I was being overcome by fear.

Here are a few things I did to help me cope:

Is Addison's Disease a Genetic Disease?

A woman told me that her boyfriend was told that Addison's Disease is a genetic disease and he would have it all his life.

Maybe and maybe not. The adrenal glands can become damaged in many ways -- hemorrhage from a car accident, cancer, tumors, tuberculous, HIV, virus damage, other diseases, genetically weak adrenal glands, high doses of cortisone used to treat other conditions, failure of the Pituitary glad to produce the hormone necessary to stimulates your adrenal glands to function, your immune system attacking your adrenal glands, and excessive prolonged stress of any type. (see  https://www.addisons.org.uk/info/manual/causes.pdf  )

Whether or not your adrenal glands heal, removing as much stress from your life as possible will help you feel better. It will also probably help your body cope better with your disease, decrease the possibility of other complications, and increase your quality of life.

In my case, I seem to have had a lot of stress caused by low oxygen levels (chronic bronchitis and a heart murmur), several injuries, allergies, chemical sensitivities, and unresolved emotional issues. As I worked to control or reduce each problem, my adrenal glands began to heal. My adrenal glands did not produce any cortisone for years and now I able to function without any medication at all.