Tag Archives: Adrenal insufficiency

Addison’s Disease

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Definition:
Addison’s disease is a disorder that results when your body produces insufficient amounts of certain hormones produced by your adrenal glands. In Addison’s disease, your adrenal glands produce too little cortisol, and often insufficient levels of aldosterone as well.

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Also called adrenal insufficiency or hypocortisolism, Addison’s disease can occur at any age, but is most common in people ages 30 to 50. Addison’s disease can be life-threatening.

Symptoms:

Addison’s disease symptoms usually develop slowly, often over several months, and may include:
*Muscle weakness and fatigue
*Weight loss and decreased appetite
*Darkening of your skin (hyperpigmentation)
*Low blood pressure, even fainting
*Salt craving
*Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
*Nausea, diarrhea or vomiting
*Muscle or joint pains
*Irritability
*Depression

Acute adrenal failure (addisonian crisis)
Sometimes, however, the signs and symptoms of Addison’s disease may appear suddenly. In acute adrenal failure (addisonian crisis), the signs and symptoms may also include:

*Pain in your lower back, abdomen or legs
*Severe vomiting and diarrhea, leading to dehydration
*Low blood pressure
*Loss of consciousness
*High potassium (hyperkalemia)

Causes :
Your adrenal glands are located just above each of your two kidneys. These glands are part of your endocrine system, and they produce hormones that give instructions to virtually every organ and tissue in your body.

Your adrenal glands are composed of two sections. The interior (medulla) produces adrenaline-like hormones. The outer layer (cortex) produces a group of hormones called corticosteroids, which include glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids and male sex hormones (androgens).

Some of the hormones the cortex produces are essential for life — the glucocorticoids and the mineralocorticoids.

*Glucocorticoids. These hormones, which include cortisol, influence your body’s ability to convert food fuels into energy, play a role in your immune system’s inflammatory response and help your body respond to stress.

*Mineralocorticoids. These hormones, which include aldosterone, maintain your body’s balance of sodium and potassium and water to keep your blood pressure normal.

*Primary adrenal insufficiency: Addison’s disease occurs when the cortex is damaged and doesn’t produce its hormones in adequate quantities. Doctors refer to the condition involving damage to the adrenal glands as primary adrenal insufficiency.

The failure of your adrenal glands to produce adrenocortical hormones is most commonly the result of the body attacking itself (autoimmune disease). For unknown reasons, your immune system views the adrenal cortex as foreign, something to attack and destroy.

Other causes of adrenal gland failure may include:
*Tuberculosis
*Other infections of the adrenal glands
*Spread of cancer to the adrenal glands
*Bleeding into the adrenal glands

Secondary adrenal insufficiency
Adrenal insufficiency can also occur if your pituitary gland is diseased. The pituitary gland makes a hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which stimulates the adrenal cortex to produce its hormones. Inadequate production of ACTH can lead to insufficient production of hormones normally produced by your adrenal glands, even though your adrenal glands aren’t damaged. Doctors call this condition secondary adrenal insufficiency.

Another more common possible cause of secondary adrenal insufficiency occurs when people who take corticosteroids for treatment of chronic conditions, such as asthma or arthritis, abruptly stop taking the corticosteroids.

Addisonian crisis
If you have untreated Addison’s disease, an addisonian crisis may be provoked by physical stress, such as an injury, infection or illness.

When to seek medical advice:
See your doctor if you have signs and symptoms that commonly occur in people with Addison’s disease. Most people with this condition experience darkening areas of skin (hyperpigmentation), severe fatigue, unintentional weight loss, and gastrointestinal problems, such as nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Dizziness or fainting, salt cravings, and muscle or joint pains also are common.

Your doctor can determine whether Addison’s disease or some other medical condition may be causing these problems.

Tests and diagnosis:-

Your doctor will talk to you first about your medical history and your signs and symptoms. If your doctor thinks that you may have Addison’s disease, you may undergo some of the following tests:

*Blood test. Measuring your blood levels of sodium, potassium, cortisol and ACTH gives your doctor an initial indication of whether adrenal insufficiency may be causing your signs and symptoms. A blood test can also measure antibodies associated with autoimmune Addison’s disease.

*ACTH stimulation test. This test involves measuring the level of cortisol in your blood before and after an injection of synthetic ACTH. ACTH signals your adrenal glands to produce cortisol. If your adrenal glands are damaged, the ACTH stimulation test shows that your output of cortisol in response to synthetic ACTH is blunted or nonexistent.

*Insulin-induced hypoglycemia test. Occasionally, doctors suggest this test if pituitary disease is a possible cause of adrenal insufficiency (secondary adrenal insufficiency). The test involves checking your blood sugar (blood glucose) and cortisol levels at various intervals after an injection of insulin. In healthy people, glucose levels fall and cortisol levels increase.

*Imaging tests. Your doctor may have you undergo a computerized tomography (CT) scan of your abdomen to check the size of your adrenal glands and look for other abnormalities that may give insight to the cause of the adrenal insufficiency. Your doctor may also suggest a CT scan or MRI scan of your pituitary gland if testing indicates you have secondary adrenal insufficiency.

Treatments and drugs:-
If you receive an early diagnosis of Addison’s disease, treatment may involve taking prescription corticosteroids. Because your body isn’t producing sufficient steroid hormones, your doctor may have you take one or more hormones to replace the deficiency. Cortisol is replaced using hydrocortisone (Cortef), prednisone or cortisone acetate. Fludrocortisone (Florinef) replaces aldosterone, which controls your body’s sodium and potassium needs and keeps your blood pressure normal.

You take these hormones orally in daily doses that mimic the amount your body normally would make, thereby minimizing side effects. If you’re facing a stressful situation, such as an operation, an infection or a minor illness, your doctor will suggest a temporary increase in your dosage. If you’re ill with vomiting and can’t retain oral medications, you may need corticosteroid injections.

In addition, your doctor may recommend treating androgen deficiency with an androgen replacement called dehydroepiandrosterone. Some studies indicate that, for women with Addison’s disease, androgen replacement therapy may improve overall sense of well-being, libido and sexual satisfaction.

You may click to learn more about:-
-> Natural Addison’s Disease Treatment
->Natural Help for Addison’s Disease
->AN ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE RESOURCE GUIDE
->Treatment For Addison’s Disease – Herbal Remedies – Natural Cures

Addisonian crisis
An addisonian crisis is a life-threatening situation that results in low blood pressure, low blood levels of sugar and high blood levels of potassium. This situation requires immediate medical care. Treatment typically includes intravenous injections of:

*Hydrocortisone
*Saline solution
*Sugar (dextrose

Coping and support:-

These steps may help you cope better with a medical emergency if you have Addison’s disease:

Carry a medical alert card and bracelet at all times. In the event you’re incapacitated, emergency medical personnel know what kind of care you need.

Keep extra medication handy. Because missing even one day of therapy may be dangerous, it’s a good idea to keep a small supply of medication at work, at a vacation home and in your travel bag, in the event you forget to take your pills. Also, have your doctor prescribe a needle, syringe and injectable form of corticosteroids to have with you in case of an emergency.

Stay in contact with your doctor. Keep an ongoing relationship with your doctor to make sure that the doses or replacement hormones are adequate but not excessive. If you’re having persistent problems with your medications, you may need adjustments in the doses or timing of the medications.

Sources:http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/addisons-disease/DS00361/DSECTION=symptoms

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Eleuthero

Botanical Name:Eleutherococcus senticosus (formerly Acanthopanax senticosus)
Family :Araliaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Apiales
Genus: Eleutherococcus
Species: E. senticosus

Habitat:It is native to Northeastern Asia. Eleuthero is a shrub that grows in Siberia, China, Korea, and Japan.In Chinese medicine it is known as cì wu jia
Common names: Siberian ginseng, Ci wu jia, Touch-me-not, Devil’s shrub,devil’s shrub, devil’s root, touch-me-not

Description :The herb grows in mixed and coniferous mountain forests, forming low undergrowth or is found in groups in thickets and edges. E. senticosus is sometimes found in oak groves at the foot of cliffs, very rarely in high forest riparian woodland. Its native habitat is East Asia, China, Japan and Russia. E. senticosus is broadly tolerant of soils, growing in sandy, loamy and heavy clay soils with acid, neutral or alkaline chemistry and including soils of low nutritional value. It can tolerate sun or dappled shade and some degree of pollution. E. senticosus is a decidious shrub growing to 2m at a slow rate. It is hardy to zone 3. It flowers in July in most habitats. The flowers are hermaphrodite and are pollinated by insect.

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The dried root and other underground parts of the plant are used in herbal remedies for a variety of conditions. It is a distant relative of true (Panax) ginseng (which includes Asian ginseng and American ginseng), but it does not belong to the Panax group of herbs. Previously sold in the United States as “Siberian ginseng,” a 2002 United States law forbade the “ginseng” label, and the name “eleuthero” is now more commonly used.

Active Constituents:The constituents in eleuthero that have been most studied are the eleutherosides.1 Seven primary eleutherosides have been identified, with most of the research attention focusing on eleutherosides B and E.2 Eleuthero also contains complex polysaccharides (complex sugar molecules).3 These constituents may play a critical role in eleuthero’s ability to support immune function.

Eleuthero is an “adaptogen” (an agent that helps the body adapt to stress). It is thought to help support adrenal gland function when the body is challenged by stress

Medicinal Uses:
E. senticosus is an adaptogen which has a wide range of health benefits attributed to its use. Currently, most of the research to support the medicinal use of E. senticosus is in Russian or Korean. E. senticosus contains eleutherosides, triterpenoid saponins which are lipophilic and which can fit into hormone receptors. Supporters of E. senticosus as medicine claim it possesses a variety of medicinal properties, such as:

*increased endurance

*memory improvement

*anti-inflammatory

*immunogenic

*chemoprotective

*radiological protection

Eleutherococcus senticosis is more tonifying than the true Ginsengs (Panax sp.) It is neutral energetically and so is appropriate for daily use. Taken regularly, it enhances immune function, decreases cortisol levels and inflammatory response, and it promotes improved cognitive and physical performance. In human studies Eleuthero has been successfully used to treat bone marrow suppression caused by chemotherapy or radiation, angina, hypercholesterolemia, and neurasthenia with headache, insomnia, and poor appetite.

The major constituents of E. senticosus are Ciwujianoside A-E, Eleutheroside B (Syringin), Eleutherosides A-M, Friedelin and Isofraxidin.[2][unreliable source?] Most of the active constituents in E. senticosus are triterpenoid saponins. Though all terpenoid compounds have bioactivity in mammals, it is the triterpenes that are most important to the adaptogenic effect. The majority of known triterpenoid compounds in E. senticosus are found as saponin glycosides which refers to the attachment of various sugar molecules to the triterpene unit. These sugars are usually cleaved off in the gut by bacteria, allowing the aglycone (triterpene) to be absorbed. Saponin glycosides have the characteristic of reducing surface tension of water and will strip the lipids. This allows them insert into cell membranes (Attele et al., 1999) and modify the composition, influence membrane fluidity,[8] and potentially affect signaling by many ligands and cofactors.

Eleutherococcus senticosus has been shown to have significant antidepressant effects in rats

Although not as popular as Asian ginseng, eleuthero use dates back 2,000 years, according to Chinese medicine records. Referred to as ci wu jia in Chinese medicine, it was used to prevent respiratory tract infections, colds and flu. It was also believed to provide energy and vitality. In Russia, eleuthero was originally used by people in the Siberian Taiga region to increase performance and quality of life and to decrease infections.

In more modern times, eleuthero has been used to increase stamina and endurance in Soviet Olympic athletes. Russian explorers, divers, sailors, and miners also used eleuthero to prevent stress-related illness. After the Chernobyl accident, many Russian and Ukrainian citizens were given eleuthero to counteract the effects of radiation.

Eleuthero has been shown to enhance mental acuity and physical endurance without the letdown that comes with caffeinated products. Research has shown that eleuthero improves the use of oxygen by the exercising muscle.6 This means that a person is able to maintain aerobic exercise longer and recover from workouts more quickly. Preliminary research from Russia indicates it may be effective for this purpose. Other trials have been inconclusive8 or have shown no beneficial effect.

Eleuthero may also support the body by helping the liver detoxify harmful toxins. It has shown a protective action in animal studies against chemicals such as ethanol, sodium barbital, tetanus toxoid, and chemotherapeutic agents. According to a test tube study eleuthero also helps protect the body during radiation exposure. Preliminary research in Russia has suggested that eleuthero may help alleviate side effects and help the bone marrow recover more quickly in people undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancer.

Eleuthero may be useful as a preventive measure during the cold and flu season. However, it has not yet been specifically studied for this purpose. Preliminary evidence also suggests that eleuthero may prove valuable in the long-term management of various diseases of the immune system, including HIV infection and chronic fatigue syndrome. Healthy people taking teaspoons (10 ml) of tincture three times daily have been shown to have increased numbers of the immune cells (T4 lymphocytes) that have been found to decrease during HIV-infection and AIDS.13 Further human clinical trials are needed to confirm that eleuthero may be helpful for this disease.

Dosages: Dried, powdered root and rhizomes, 2–3 grams per day, are commonly used.14 Alternatively, 300–400 mg per day of concentrated solid extract standardized on eleutherosides B and E can be used, as can alcohol-based extracts, 8–10 ml in two to three divided dosages. Historically, eleuthero is taken continuously for six to eight weeks, followed by a one- to two-week break before resuming.

Side Effects:Reported side effects have been minimal with use of eleuthero.15 Mild, transient diarrhea has been reported in a very small number of users. Eleuthero may cause insomnia in some people if taken too close to bedtime. Eleuthero is not recommended for people with uncontrolled high blood pressure. There are no known reasons to avoid eleuthero during pregnancy and breast-feeding. However, pregnant or breast-feeding women should be aware that some products may be adulterated with herbs that should not be taken in pregnancy, such as Asian ginseng. Only eleuthero from a trusted source should be used.

In one case report, a person taking eleuthero with digoxin developed dangerously high serum digoxin levels.16 Although a clear relationship could not be established, it is wise for someone taking digoxin to seek the advise of a doctor before taking eleuthero.

Drug interactions:
Certain medicines may interact with eleuthero. Refer to drug interactions for a list of those medicines.

*People with medicated high blood pressure should consult their doctor before taking E. senticosus as it may reduce their need for medication.

*E. senticosus may cause light sleep in some people, principally those who are “wired”. Users are recommended not to take it in the evening.

*E. senticosus will enhance the effectiveness of mycin class antibiotics.

*E. senticosus when purchased from non-GMP sources has occasionally been adulterated with Periploca graeca which can potentiate digoxin or similar drugs: however this is not an interaction of E. senticosus

You may click to learn more about Eleuthero->………………………….(1).(2)..(3)

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleutherococcus_senticosus
http://www.revolutionhealth.com/articles/eleuthero/hn-herb_eleuthero
http://www.cancer.org/docroot/ETO/content/ETO_5_3x_Siberian_Ginseng.asp

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What Causes Stress?

Regardless of the cause, stress sets in motion certain automatic changes in the body that are designed to give it a quick burst of energy. The pattern of changes has been called the “fight-or-flight” response because it most likely evolved from our prehistoric ancestors, who faced daily dangers in their search for food and shelter and had to either flee or do battle. Of course, we no longer face such dangers, but our bodies continue to react as if we did. So instead of responding to a saber-tooth tiger lurking behind a tree, the body reacts to petty annoyances like getting caught in traffic, being reprimanded by a supervisor, or worrying about bills.

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Regardless of the type of stress, the body goes through the following changes:

1.The adrenal glands release adrenaline and other stress hormones that prime certain organs to go into action.
2.The breathing becomes faster and more shallow to allow the body to take in more oxygen.
3.The liver releases more glucose (blood sugar) to provide extra energy.

4.The heart beats faster and blood pressure rises to increase the distribution of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.
5.Blood flow to the brain and muscles is increased and, at the same time, reduced to digestive organs.
6.Sweating increases to allow the body to burn more calories without a rise in body temperature. (In theory, sweating also makes the skin slippery and more difficult for a predator to grab.)

After the stressor disappears, the body returns to its normal state (homeostasis). If, however, stress is chronic — as it is for many people — the body stays on high alert. The many damaging consequences include a rise in cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, damaged blood vessels, decreased mental skills, and a weakened immune system.

Source:Reader’s Digest