Things That Cause Adrenal Insufficiency

Adrenal insufficiency (AI)—although not common and usually strike middle-aged women—can be alarming, and can lead patients to death if not detected and treated right away and properly.

What is adrenal insufficiency and what can cause it?

Adrenal insufficiency is a condition characterized by deficiency in the production of cortisol and aldosterone, which are released by the adrenal cortex. Cortisol helps the body regulate sugar and protein for energy and safeguards the body against infections and stresses. Aldosterone, on the other hand, balances the amount of potassium, salt and water in the body. Both play an important role in the body’s overall condition.

Adrenal insufficiency may be caused by:

1. Emotional stresses or psychological stress. Looking at on your emotional stress time and time can cause exhaustion in the adrenal glands and thus, the failure to  produce adequate amounts of cortisol needed for your body. Even a one-time inordinate shock can lead in the exhaustion of adrenals. Anger, anxiety and fear may worsen the problem. One’s mental attitude impacts AI.

2. Antidepressants and other stimulants, and toxic substances. Stimulants like caffeine, cocaine, heroine, alcohol, theobromine (obtained from cocoa seeds and present in chocolates), sugar and others can debilitate the adrenal glands. Further, noise, loud music, lights in disco clubs, immoderate vibration can affect the normal functioning of the adrenal glands. Toxic substances like chlorine, food additives, pesticides, molds, and household chemicals—when taken—also impact production of hormones in the adrenal cortex. Medical therapy used to control allergies caused by these toxic substances can sometimes weaken the adrenal gland.

3. Tuberculosis and autoimmune adrenalitis. Both are considered the common causes of adrenal insufficiency. Autoimmune adrenalitis is a type of disease, which stimulates the development of antibodies that destroy the adrenal glands.

4. Cancer cells in the pituitary gland. It can cause the adrenal glands from failing to function.

5. Other causes include cancer cells in other parts of the body that also affect the adrenal glands (most common is breast cancer), fungal infection, hemochromatosis (a hereditary disorder in which iron salts are deposited in the tissues, leading to liver damage, diabetes mellitus, and bronze discoloration of the skin), sarcoidosis (a chronic disease characterized by the enlargement of lymph node in many parts of the body), and amyloidosis (a disorder marked by deposition of amyloid in the body).

Adrenal insufficiency patient feel weak, dizzy or lightheaded, and nauseous. Other symptoms include: sweating, anxiety, nervousness, palpitations, low blood sugar, bronze pigmentation in the skin, dehydration and others. These symptoms are recognizable only until 90% of the adrenal cortex is destroyed. Nevertheless, adrenal insufficiency can still be treated.

Although, adrenal insufficiency treatment is often successful, it is always important not to slack, and disregard the symptoms once they start to show up. Early and proper diagnosis and treatment is the best remedy to adrenal insufficiency.

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Lena Butler

My name is Lena Butler. I live in San Diego, California. I work as a customer service representative for I attended the University of San Diego and majored in marketing. I enjoy spending time at home, working on my painting and playing with my two pet rabbits, Carl and Lenny, when I am not here sharing interesting posts :)

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