Friday, September 25, 2009

What is Adrenal Insufficiency?

Adrenal insufficiency causes problems with production of Cortisol and Aldosterone. These two hormones have important roles in the body and are released by the Cortex. Adrenal insufficiency is not often seen as life threatening however it is a very serious life threatening condition.

Now that we know what adrenal insufficiency is we can look at what causes it. The most common cause of adrenal insufficiency is an autoimmune disorder. This is where the adrenal cortex is shrinking or destroyed. This happens when the body mistakes the adrenal cortex as a foreign object in the body. It then sends cells to destroy it. This also happens in the exact same manner with cancer.

Adrenal insufficiency isn’t usually diagnosed until a doctor sees increased pigmentation of the skin. He then will do various blood tests to test the sodium and glucose in the body.

There is a treatment for adrenal insufficiency. In most cases synthetic steroids are used to replace the levels of cortisol that are missing. The synthetic steroid will have to be taking by the patient for the rest of his or her life. However the downside to the steroid is that it causes dehydration and salt loss as well. It can even cause low blood pressure in some circumstances.

This means that the patient must have a well balanced diet so that he or she has the proper levels of nutrients. In most situations doctors will ask patients to follow up with them often. This is because the doctors want to check and monitor blood sugar and urinary acetone levels to ensure that everything is working properly.

There are some situations that you will need to be prepared for as a person who has adrenal insufficiency or the milder form of adrenal exhaustion called adrenal fatigue (or chronic fatigue ). Find more information on adrenal support.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What are the Symptoms of Adrenal Insufficiency?

Your adrenal glands are located just above your kidneys and harbor hormones that are required for meeting the needs of your body. The two hormones that are created by the adrenal glands are cortisol and aldosterone. Each one has its own important use. Cortisol for example, helps the body respond to any type of stress. This can be any type of stress ranging from an injury while playing a sport to the stress of your workplace. One of the biggest functions that it is responsible for is the proper function of your immune system. Aldosterone on the other hand regulates how much salt, potassium, and water are in your body. If you’re wondering how you can detect adrenal insufficiency there are numerous signs and symptoms.

While doing everyday tasks you may notice that you feel unusual weakness in your muscles. You may also feel unusual fatigue or tiredness even though you’re well rested. If you get dizzy while standing or you feel sick and vomit or have diarrhea then you may have adrenal insufficiency. Symptoms of adrenal fatigue or the later more advanced stage of adrenal fatigue, adrenal insufficiency, may include brain fog which is a frequent disorientation, or a decrease in short term memory. If you’ve felt some of these symptoms for a while then you may be getting to the later stages of adrenal insufficiency where you will start to notice significant weight loss. You may also notice your skin becomes a dark tan and that you start to crave salt more often. All of these are various signs and symptoms that you may have adrenal insufficiency.

Men and women of all ages can get adrenal insufficiency. The disorder may be only temporary for some people while others will have it permanently. The disorder can be treated with certain medications however in some extreme situations it may be required that the pituitary gland or the adrenal glands get surgically removed from the body altogether.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What’s the Difference between Adrenal Exhaustion and Adrenal Insufficiency?

Many people want to know: What’s the difference between adrenal exhaustion and adrenal insufficiency? While they may seem like the first thing when you first glance at the terms they are in fact completely different. Each one has its own causes and effects. While they do share some common symptoms one is far more serious than the other one.

Adrenal exhaustion (also called adrenal fatigue), is simply when your adrenal glands are so worn out that they stop functioning properly. This is usually a temporary situation but can span for years. This can happen from being overly stressed because of items in your life such as work. It can also happen from not taking care of your body and getting the proper amounts of sleep and nutrients. You need to give your adrenal glands time to recharge and get back on track through adequate adrenal support and give your body the proper nutrients.

Adrenal insufficiency is the second stage of adrenal exhaustion. In some extreme cases where people don’t take better care of themselves, adrenal exhaustion can lead to adrenal insufficiency. However in most cases you will get adrenal insufficiency from other situations. Many people get adrenal insufficiency when they are born due to their mothers losing too much blood. Likewise genetics can have an effect on your glands and pass along genetic defects which can weaken your adrenal glands. Also some infections and surgeries can cause your adrenal glands to stop working properly. You can re-stabilize your body by taking special steroids that are designed for adrenal insufficiency. While you will have to take them for the rest of your life it is a treatable disorder.

Acute Adrenal Insufficiency

Unlike adrenal fatigue, acute adrenal insufficiency is a condition that is life threatening. If it goes untreated it may result in death. Acute adrenal insufficiency occurs when the body doesn’t producing enough cortisol. You have two adrenal glands with one beach above each kidney. The glands consist of two parts the cortex and the medulla. The cortex is responsible for producing three types of hormones called corticosteroids. The most important and notable one is cortisol.

Cortisol is responsible for regulating multiple parts of your body including your glucose, your immune system, and stress. The cortisol is essential to be able to live. Acute Adrenal Insufficiency is subject to occur if any of the three glands get damaged. The third land is located near your brain called the pituitary gland. This gland helps regulate the cortisol amounts that get put into your body.

If your body goes into Acute Adrenal Insufficiency you will need to seek immediate medical attention. This is because you have to have hydrocortisone injected straight into your vein or muscle. This is a synthetic version of the hormone that your body creates.

If you have Addison’s disease you can prevent Acute Adrenal Insufficiency. To help prevent this you should recognize signs of stress that can cause you to be too stressed out. You will want to avoid these situations at all costs as it will prevent you from getting Acute Adrenal Insufficiency. If you have Addison’s disease you will want to carry the medicine on you at all times. This is so that you can take your prescription or inject it into your body in times of stress so that you don’t have an Acute Adrenal Insufficiency attack. Finally you should always carry a medical identification card on you. This will help professionals get you the help you need in the event that something does happen.

Secondary Adrenal Insufficiency

Secondary adrenal insufficiency is extremely similar to adrenal insufficiency. The problem still remains where your body does not make enough of the endocrine hormones that it needs. However the cause is slightly different. In your brain you have a pituitary gland. This gland sends signals to your adrenal glands via a hormone known as adrenocorticotropin also known as ACTH. ACTH controls your body in terms of managing the salt, fats, and proteins that are in it. By doing this your blood pressure stays where it should and your body operates normal with the perfect balances of nutrients.

However when secondary adrenal insufficiency happens your pituitary gland doesn’t produce enough ACTH. This causes your body not to get the signals it need to operate correctly. The levels of cortisol will also decrease because of the lack of ACTH. It becomes a serious problem as the levels of cortisol and ACTH drop as it can cause your body to go into adrenal crisis which can lead to death.

Secondary adrenal insufficiency can happen for multiple reasons. The first and one of the most common is childbirth. If the female loses a large amount of blood during the birth process then the child is at risk for it.

Another common problem is many steroid medicines cause secondary adrenal insufficiency. If you’re on steroid medicine and stop taking it you will actually increase your risk for the insufficiency. That is why many doctors are now learning to treat adrenal fatigue or adrenal exhaustion in a more natural way and use steroids when no other options are available.

There are many signs of secondary adrenal insufficiency. If you notice any of the following signs you may have secondary adrenal insufficiency. You may experience unexpected weight loss. You may also notice that you have a decreased appetite. Another common symptom is that you get join pain or increased seating and shaking even though you’re not doing anything out of the ordinary. Watch out for any of these symptoms as you may have secondary adrenal insufficiency.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Adrenal Tumors

Adrenal tumors can be either cancerous or non-cancerous. However, it takes a lot of diagnosis and follow ups to figure out if it is cancerous or not. An adrenal tumor can refer to a part of the adrenal gland known as the malignant neoplasms or the benign. In some situations these body parts over produce endocrine hormones which cause the tumors.

Symptoms for an adrenal tumor vary and can be attributed to either under ( or over production of the endocrine hormones. Symptoms may include several of the following: obesity, moon-shaped face, increased fat in neck region, bruising easily, severe fatigue (a milder case of this is called adrenal fatigue), weak muscles, and high blood pressure. Symptoms may also include: headaches, high blood salt levels, frequent urination, high blood pressure, and an irregular heartbeat.

Inside the Adrenal Cortex there are three different layers of cells. These endocrine cells produce the steroids that are necessary. The glucocorticoids are included in this area and they regulate blood sugar, the immune system, and stress. Then there is the mineral corticoid aldosterone which regulates blood pressure, kidney functions, and sex drive.

Benign tumors of the adrenal cortex are extremely common and usually found on up to 10% of people once an autopsy has been performed. However this is usually confused with adrenocortical nodules which aren’t neoplasms.

Adenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is a rare form of cancer that is caused by the adrenal cortical cells. This cancer may be rare however it’s extremely aggressive and can occur in both children and adults. It tends to grow deep inside the retroperitoneum, thriving in the largest of your veins. Due to its location this type of cancer is hard to detect until it becomes large in size. While surgery can be used to remove the cancer, it is usually not preferred. Most patients must use chemotherapy, radiation, or hormonal therapy to recover.

There are two other types of cancer that are located in the adrenal medulla, which is the center of your adrenal glands. This part of your adrenal has neuroendocrine cells which create and release adrenaline into the bloodstream. The first type of tumor is known as Neuroblastoma and is an aggressive cancer most often detected in children by the age of two. Although it will spread to the rest of the body it is often curable when limited to the liver, skin, and one marrow. Pheochromocytoma tumers can be found in this area as well, although they have both malignant and benign. This type of cancer crops up in all ages and produces adrenaline.