Friday, January 31, 2014

Mold and Adrenal Glands

I had never thought about how mold affects adrenal glands until a couple of months ago. In August we decided to do some remodeling in our 67 year old basement. When we removed the paneling, we were shocked to find mold underneath on the drywall.
It took us a month to get most of it out of the house. All that was left was old cinder block walls and the ceiling joists.

Within a few days I began to have more energy than I have in years! I could hardly believe it. It didn't seem real after forty years of dragging around. 

The beginning of November I started having some problems. I was having more trouble not being able to get to sleep, and I started to have trouble with my blood sugar going up a lot after eating a regular balanced meal.  I told my doctor and he explained to me that mold can severely suppress your adrenal glands and that sometimes when the mold is gone the adrenal glands can begin to function again. I questioned if it could happen even after taking hydrocortisone for ten years like I have, He said it could happen and wanted me to slowly cut my dose. I would take 5 mg less for three to ten days then drop another five. I checked my blood sugar and blood pressure carefully. I was down to just a couple milligrams a day, and all was holding well. I was excited! Maybe my adrenal glands were coming back to life!

Then it happened! Or maybe didn't happen is a better description. I just quit. It was like a car running along fine, there is a sputter, then nothing. I was so tired I couldn't move and cold, headache, nauseous. and couldn't think. I did have enough awareness to realize that I was going into an Addison's Crisis. Quickly, I started taking more hydrocortisone. In twenty minutes (the time it takes for the medicine to hit my blood stream), I was improving and even able to go to my daughter and son-in-law's for Thanksgiving. 

It took me a couple of weeks to get back to my normal energy level. Though it wasn't fun, I did learn a lot. First, take mold VERY seriously! Mold can destroy adrenal function and greatly stress your body. Susceptible people (like me) can get very sick if they are around mold. Now that the mold is gone, we have been able to cut my dose of hydrocortisone in half. I am back down to a normal dose. 

This month was a real test to see if I could do well on the lower dose of hydrocortisone. I pulled my knee moving my library. Though I was feeling better, I hadn't built the muscles I needed for such a heavy project. Also, I had a stomach flu. I wasn't able to eat much for three days. I was able to keep taking my medicine though and have been recovering well without having to take much extra hydrocortisone. It looks like getting the mold out of my home is really making a difference in my health. 

I also learned that your body can store hydrocortisone for awhile. Apparently when I was cutting my dose of hydrocortisone, I really wasn't doing fine on such a low level. Instead, I was using extra hydro that I had stored when the mold was gone since I no longer needed as much medication each day. This store made it appear like my adrenal glands were producing cortisone when they really were not. When I ran out of stored hydrocortisone, I saw what my body could do on its own -- nothing! But without the constant stress of the mold, I only needed half the hydrocortisone and had more energy and stamina. Also, I began to be able to eat foods that I haven't been able to eat for years. It is wonderful!

I learned that not only do I need to make sure I get enough hydrocortisone each day, but I need to frequently monitor my blood sugar When it begins to rise then it is time to cut my hydrocortisone. Cutting 2 1/2 to 5 mg every three days is about the max you should ever try and do that only after checking with your doctor. My doctor has known me for nearly thirty years and had confidence that I knew how to monitor the process. 

I have learned a lot and am feeling better than I have in a long time. I also realize that I just can't take a set dose of hydrocortison. I will always have to check how I am feeling and my blood sugar and blood pressure to know if I need to increase my dose of hydrocortisone or cut it. It will change with my needs. Normally, our adrenal glands automatically help us adapt to change. Since mine no longer work, I must learn to adjust my cortisone levels myself. It is challenging, but worth it!


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  3. Allergies are exaggerated immune responses to environmental triggers known as allergens. Allergies are very common, and about 50 million people in North America suffer from allergies.

  4. So true. The more worn down a person becomes, the greater the possibility that they may develop allergic reactions. I started with a few basic allergies as a child and as my adrenal glands became more stressed, my immune system became weaker and I developed many allergies and chemical sensitivities.

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