My Adrenals are Sick

Not sure how I'm still standing, since no cortisol can mean death, but thank God for the body's reserve system of adrenaline AKA Epinephrine. Our hormones are extremely sensitive and a slight imbalance can wreck havoc on every organ and system. The body may try to overcompensate by using the 'fight or flight' hormone. Cortisol is mandatory for survival. If you have thyroid disease, please check your adrenal hormones and neurotransmitters too. The thyroid and adrenals work together. Low DHEA is also a sign of adrenal problems. Mine has been low for years. Someone my age should have thriving DHEA. If you have low DHEA, that is a red flag that your adrenals are struggling and may need additional support, such as supplements and lifestyle or diet modifications. 
The worst of my own problems began after having a tremendously stressful career for over 10 years. I've always been a health nut, but I still wasn't exactly treating my adrenals with kindness. I've been trying to 'heal' my adrenals now for a few years, but these latest results hint to more of a permanent cause, such as destruction of the glands. I'm going to the Cleveland Clinic on Feb. 14 to see an Endocrinologist, who specializes in Addison's and other adrenal disorders. 

Sometimes I blame myself for the demise of my own health. I don't know if I caused it. It is true that I have multiple autoimmune diseases and scientists aren't exactly sure what triggers the expression of these genes, but stress is a common one that's thrown around, as are environmental and other risk factors. 
If only I had stopped and smelled the roses more, would I still be so sick? Instead, I was more concerned with 'climbing the corporate ladder.' 

Take some time today to love your adrenals.

January is Thyroid Disease Awareness Month

January marks another annual Thyroid Awareness Month. 
I'm going to be posting short bits of information periodically this month about thyroid disease. If you're just researching thyroid disease because you suspect that you or a loved one may have it, I can't recommend the Stop the Thyroid Maddness website enough. It's a place to get quality and in-depth information about the disease, treatment options, how to find a good thyroid doctor, read about patient experience, and so much more information. that you doctor will likely not share with you. 
And now for today's short post-

*Hashimoto's is likely the cause of YOUR hypothyroid.*

Studies show that 90% of people with hypothyroidism are producing antibodies against their thyroids. When these antibodies are present, the diagnosis is Hashimoto's. Hashimoto's is the autoimmune disease that causes the thyroid to become permanently hypo. The disease takes years to fully develop and 'kill' the thyroid. Many undiagnosed patients die of heart disease as a result. 
Hashimoto's causes swings of hyper and hypo thyroid. These swings may be interpreted by doctors and loved ones as 'bipolar' and many patients receive this unfortunately incorrect diagnosis. Stop the Thyroid Madness reported: 
"Several patients have reported being diagnosed with bipolar, only to later discover it was actually the swings between hyper- and hypo- from the attack that was causing their mood swings. Or as on Australian gal called it, the “Yeeha” of her swing." (Stop the Thyroid Madness )
If you suspect a thyroid problem or have some of the symptoms, and your doctor said your thyroid is 'normal', I highly recommend reading through the STTM website and thoroughly educating yourself to prepare for your doctors appointment because we've seen and heard it all too much- the law of large numbers says that you're likely to receive incorrect medical advice regarding thyroid disease from a doctor. Education is an important tool in this disease because it can be the difference in getting properly tested and properly treated. 

Dr. Chris Kresser points out, "You can think of the thyroid as the central gear in a sophisticated engine. If that gear breaks, the entire engine goes down with it."
Almost all doctors know that hypothyroidism is actually the cause of an autoimmune disease, however most patient are unaware and are not educated about their condition. The reason doctors don’t tell their patients that they have an autoimmune disease is because it doesn’t affect their 'treatment' pla, however autoimmune diseases are often complex and require lifestyle and dietary changes forever to maximize health benefits or to just 'feel normal.' A simple 'pill a day' does not merely solve the long list of problems for a thyroid patient. If you're currently being treated for hypothyroid and still have uncontrolled symptoms, please visit the Stop the Thyroid Madness website. 
If you've been diagnosed as having a 'hypothyroid', you most likely have Hashimoto's. 
Dr. Kessler said this important statement, "Hashimoto’s often manifests as a “polyendocrine autoimmune pattern”. This means that in addition to having antibodies to thyroid tissue, it’s not uncommon for Hashimoto’s patients to have antibodies to other tissues or enzymes as well. The most common are transglutaminase (Celiac disease), the cerebellum (neurological disorders), intrinsic factor (pernicious anemia), glutamic acid decarboxylase (anxiety/panic attacks and late onset type 1 diabetes)." 

The next time you go to the doctor for a check up, ask for the full thyroid panel, not just the TSH test because the TSH test is actually a pituitary hormone and it can take many years for the TSH to be out of the standard lab range. 
Ask for the following thyroid blood tests-
Anti-TPO (antithyroid peroxidase) antibodies
In addition, iron levels, vitamin D, B12, cortisol, and other levels may be compromised in thyroid patients. 

See a complete list of recommended labwork and helpful information at Stop the Thyroid Madness here- Labwork

Follow Dr. Chris Kessler's articles and blog posts on managing thyroid disease and other health conditions-

Special thanks to the people at Thyroid Change for the photo banner. Please visit their website to learn more about their mission and goals to bring together doctors, patients, and healthcare experts.