What the Heck is STRESS??

  1. Stress:  A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.
  2. Stress: Your bodies way of responding to any kind of demand or threat.  When you feel threatened your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which in turn rouse the body for emergency action.

But, if you have adrenal insufficiency, your body doesn’t produce the hormones needed to handle stress.  I have adrenal insufficiency and it is a life-threatening illness.

I could go on and on about stress, but most people only think of the normal stress that everyone experiences on a day to day basis.  The stress that aggravates you, puts you in a bad mood, makes you cross with your family or co-workers can land me in the emergency room. An injury or illness can stress out my body so quickly that I don’t see it coming.

Several years ago, my Father-In-Law was suffering from cancer and was moved to a nursing home.  We had out of town family staying at our house, and when he passed away we had all the planning and arrangements to take care of.  A very stressful time.  My family kept a close eye on me, made sure I “stress dosed” and got enough rest.  I made it through the whole thing perfectly.  Two weeks later, my cat died.  I ended up in the hospital with my worst adrenal crisis to date. Dangerously low potassium, sodium and blood pressure.

Another incident that lead to an adrenal crisis was food poisoning.  A UTI threw me in the emergency room with no warning also.

If you have adrenal insufficiency, you must always be prepared! Let people around you understand the importance of your emergency injections, and getting you to the hospital quickly for IV steroids and treatment.

You never know what can start an adrenal crisis, be aware of what your body is telling you.  Don’t ever think you can “ride it out” and get better on your own.  Go to the hospital!

ambulance2

 

 

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Trying something different

Since diagnosis of secondary adrenal insufficiency in 2001, I have tried several dosing schedules and doses trying to find what will help me feel “normal”.   Five days ago I changed my dosing times, starting at 6am with 10 mg HC, then 10mg at 9am, 5mg at noon, and 2.5 at 3pm.  So far…. so good!  I am waking up earleir with less drowsiness during the day,and having an easier time with sleep at night.   There has been much discussion online about the generic HC manufactured by Lineage,which is what I have been taking for months now,  Some people are reporting that they feel much better with the brand name CORTEF, so I contacted my doctor, and she ordered me some.  I should get that within a week, and hoping that helps me also.  Of course, I know that you can try something different, change things up and it doesn’t always work, you don’t improve much or for long. But I am willing to try this, pay the extra money for the brand name medication and take a chance.  I have an exciting summer coming, my son is getting married in June, in Colorado, in the mountains! High altitude, happy stress, traveling, different climate……all of which are not the greatest scenarios for us sickies.  Keeping my fingers crossed that a change will be a good thing for me for now.  change-1

Do you have Adrenal Disease?

The adrenals are such tiny little things and so is the pituitary gland….so why are they such a BIG problem?  I often joke and say that my pituitary went on vacation and never came back, so my adrenals don’t know what to do. 

I was diagnosed with Isolated ACTH deficiency in 2001, and haven’t been well since.  ACTH is a hormone made by the pituitary gland that signals the adrenals to produce cortisol.  But, like I said my pituitary gland is on vacation.  In my case, there is nothing that points to why or how I developed this disease. 

I am always interested in how other people were diagnosed and how others cope with their condition.  Although my doctor is well-informed, and treats a handful of patients with some type of adrenal disease, I understand I am lucky.  I have heard horror stories from other people about their doctors who just don’t get it.  So, what can you do to make sure YOU understand what is going on with your body? 

  • Support groups and health bloggers are a great source for information and understanding
  • Understand your treatment and meds with the help of your physician and your pharmacist (I have found pharmacists to be very willing to talk and answer questions that some doctors don’t want to take the time to do)
  • Ask Tell your doctor what you want, and don’t take no for an answer, I regularly ask to have my DHEA level checked because I want to know.  She doesn’t necessarily care about it. 
  • Learn to listen to your body, it often will tell you what it wants/needs
  • Be prepared for anything.  Something you might think is small or insignificant can land you in the ER
  • Always keep a list of your medications with you, if you are ill it is hard to remember everything
  • Educate your family so they can advocate for you in case you can’t
  • If needed, make sure you have an emergency injection available to you at all times
  • Wear a medical alert bracelet or some type of ID that will alert emergency personnel of your condition

If you have important hints to share, please do.  Below, I am sharing some of the most important links and interesting people that I have found to learn more about various adrenal diseases.

Addison Village – Here you will find a wonderful group of people who are knowledgable and willing to share all their ups and downs with anyone who asks.  I learned more from this group than any other website

Finding Lana – A great blog written by a woman with Addison’s Disease,  lots of information on her blog!

Simply Suzanna -Suzanna always has something cheerful to say, and her blog is pretty to look at too!

Hypogal – Lisa, who has Sheehan’s Syndrome shares her story with her readers on this wonderful blog.

Addison Disease Facts – A Blog written by my friend Jo, who also helps people through her website Addison Village (mentioned above)

This has nothing to do with Addison’s Disease….I just like it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnUZ-Uw05kg&feature=related