Without continuous thyroid hormone supplements, Helen was practically paralyzed & unable to speak. With meds, she still felt far from good: very chilly, tired & suffered from ‘mind fog’. She had a poor appetite. She was not ovulating & her cycle was overly long, with scanty bleeding. At 30 she had the cycles of a woman entering menopause.
Because of the side effects from the thyroid replacement hormones she had been prescribed, Helen was buying expensive natural desiccated thyroxin (NDT) from abroad. Although she has a family history of autoimmune hypothyroidism (Grandmother, mother & sister) & had been diagnosed with it, she suspected that she suffered from hormone disruption due to adrenal fatigue.
Within a month of starting homeopathic treatment, Helen was seeing clear improvements. She had to reduce her NDT dose. She was beginning to experience symptoms of the high thyroid with the supplement! She began to feel a greater energy, more clarity & an improvement in her motivation & appetite. She began to have ‘real’ periods & to ovulate!
In the process of treatment, Helen’s childhood asthma returned. I’d told her this would likely happen, looking at her medical history, and that it would be temporary. Her body would begin to work through old, suppressed conditions on its way to recovery. He had Ventolin to hand. (*Ventolin is not a suppressive medication but should be used only if really necessary. There is some evidence that continued use causes small lacerations within the lung tissue and can lead to more attacks as a result.)
He is very well, able to work & her mood is greatly improved. Him hormonal balance is good and she is less inclined to overwork then crash and burn!
Now we work together periodically to keep her immune system strong and to avoid the stress issues, antibiotics and steroid medicines that likely triggered her predisposition to thyroid disease.
Adrenal hyperplasia and adrenal fatigue syndrome, or AFS, share a number of symptoms, and they can be confused for each other without good assessment. It’s important for you to know the similarities and differences in order to inform your healthcare professional and so you can help yourself deal with symptoms.
This article will deal with non-classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia, or NCAH, and its relationship to AFS.
What Is NCAH (Non-Classic Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia)?
This form of adrenal hyperplasia is a fairly common autosomal recessive condition. It results from a 21-hydroxylase deficiency. Androgen excess is the most frequent clinical feature, instead of adrenal insufficiency with the classic form of the disorder. Females have this condition more frequently than males.
Clinical and research findings show this condition occurs in between 0.6% to 9% of women with excess androgen. Higher prevalence has been seen in some populations, including those of Ashkenazi Jewish, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Indian heritage.
This condition is a milder form of congenital adrenal hyperplasia and has a later onset of symptoms. With this mild form, some people exhibit few, if any, symptoms. Many show an excess of the male hormone androgen. NCAH is caused by mutations in the CYP21A2 gene and is recessive.
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
Generally speaking, NCAH is one of the three forms of congenital adrenal hyperplasia. The other two types are known as simple virilizing adrenal hyperplasia and salt wasting adrenal hyperplasia.
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) affects the adrenal glands which produce several hormones, including corticosteroids, mineralocorticoids, and androgens. The first two of these hormones affect the body’s illness or injury response and the body’s salt and water levels, respectively. Androgens are the male hormones.
Enzyme deficiencies affect the adrenals’ ability to produce these hormones. A deficiency in the enzyme required for one of these hormones will result in an overproduction of the others.
A lack of 21-hydroxylase is the most common cause of CAH. Not having this enzyme prevents you from making cortisol and aldosterone, for salt-losing adrenal hyperplasia, and causes you to produce excess androgen. The excess of this male hormone will typically bring symptoms of abnormal sexual development.
CAH is the more severe form of this condition and is most often found early in life. If left unaddressed, adrenal crisis and even death may occur. There is no cure for CAH, but with appropriate care, sufferers can live a full life.
In the salt-wasting form of CAH, the body has trouble maintaining an appropriate level of salt in the blood. There is also a lack of cortisol and aldosterone produced by the adrenal glands. This form of CAH can result in shock, coma, or death if it isn’t found and remediated.
In the non-salt-wasting form of CAH, the shortage of the enzyme is not as severe. This shortage leads to sufficient levels of aldosterone, but insufficient cortisol production.
Those with CAH are much more likely to have adrenal fatigue than the general population. A person with CAH who comes under significant stress could easily progress much more quickly to the later stages of AFS due to natural low cortisol production.
AFS and the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Model
Any time the body comes under stress no matter the source, the response is the same. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is activated, resulting in the adrenal glands secreting cortisol, the stress-fighting hormone. If the stress continues, as it does so often in our stress-filled culture, ultimately adrenal fatigue will set in. This means the adrenals no longer can produce enough cortisol, and symptoms of AFS begin. Continuing stress leads to more and more symptoms. In the later stages of this condition, the person suffering from it may become bedridden.
Conventional physicians are not adequately trained to assess or remediate AFS. Their approach is to deal with individual symptoms or organs and suppress the symptoms to attempt relief. However, this is not adequate for AFS. Natural medicine practitioners who are trained in the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) model of stress response will be enabled to assess how a person’s six major organ systems interact in the face of continuing stress. This interaction allows them to get to the root causes of the symptoms of AFS, and then put together a remediation plan that will not just control symptoms, but address these root causes.
Signs and Symptoms of Adrenal Hyperplasia
The two forms of adrenal hyperplasia, congenital and non-classical congenital, have both common and different signs and symptoms.
To begin, there are those who show no signs or symptoms of NCAH.
With NCAH, the symptoms typically are related to excess androgen.
Children who are assessed with this condition often will exhibit early signs of puberty such as growing pubic hair, underarm hair, and body odor. These signs may occur as early as 8 or 9 years of age.
Other signs of NCAH in children include greater height, faster growth, and faster maturation of skeletal bones. In girls, there may be an enlarged clitoris, while boys may show an enlarged penis. The increased maturation of the skeleton may lead to early epiphyseal fusion, resulting in shorter adult height.
Females are more often assessed with this condition in adolescence and adulthood. Much of this is due to the abundance of adrenergic symptoms. Typical symptoms include hirsutism, acne, hair loss, loss of ovulation, and menstrual dysfunction. One large study showed the most common symptoms to be hirsutism, followed by light or infrequent menstrual periods, and acne.
Another study that investigated women with NCAH showed the most common presenting symptoms to be hirsutism, difficulty with menstruation, and reduced fertility.
As mentioned before, not all people with NCAH exhibit symptoms. A large genetic study of 330 family members showed a distribution of symptomatic versus non-symptomatic individuals. Of these subjects, nine were seen to have symptoms, and 42 individuals were asymptomatic but were affected by NCAH. The largest number, 242, were heterozygotic carriers. Out of the entire subject cohort, 37 were not affected by NCAH.
In that same study, the majority of males were not symptomatic. Most of the time, they were assessed only after a female in the family was determined to have NCAH.
The most frequent presenting symptom in women was lack of menstruation, either primary or secondary. Also seen frequently in women were chronic lack of ovulation and infertility. A similarity with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) was also evident. Approximately half of women with NCAH will show physical changes in line with PCOS.
Fertility can be an issue in women with NCAH. The issue is not necessarily infertility, but subfertility. This comes due to the problems with ovulation often seen in adrenal hyperplasia.
Classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia in women appears to bring on increased levels of progesterone that interfere with the menstrual cycle and fertility. Elevated levels of progesterone may also be seen in women with NCAH. This leads to decreased quality of mucus in the cervix that can interfere with penetration by sperm and thus can cause infertility. In the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle, increased 17-OHP (a steroid hormone related to progesterone) or P4 (another steroid hormone related to progesterone) can lead to difficulties in the maturation of the endometrium and to difficulty with implantation of the embryo.
When you sleep, your body has autonomic functions that keep your organs going, your blood flowing, your rhythms maintained and keep your breathing regulated and active. However, some of these body functions are not just autonomic. You can also control them. Breathing is one such example. For instance, when you are awake you can control your breathing. As an example, you can stop your breathing for 20 seconds at will or you can take a deep breath or exhale whenever you like. However, most of the time we pay little attention to our breathing and that is why it is autonomic, as well as voluntary. Now look at your heart, you can’t tell your heart to stop at will, or pump faster by just thinking it, this is because it is fully autonomic. So, it is safe to say that relaxing breathing is essential but it is also a great tool for relaxing because it is one organ you can actually “train.”
How do breathing and autonomic systems all support successful sleep? Relaxing sleep breathing has two main functions: relaxation and the functional part that keeps you alive by sucking in air and exhaling automatically. Both of these functions have to be in unison. If one of these functions is not working you may have sleep apnea, frequent waking, crazy dreams or even choking episodes. So, you see both of these breathing functions are vital for successful sleep. Learning how to breathe better can be relaxing, as well as, a great bridge to the autonomic nervous system. Overall it can promote better sleep conditions and help you to achieve optimal health.
There are many ways that deep breathing, relaxing breathing, and forms of meditation can actually help promote a better night’s sleep. Some people practice mindful breathing. Mindful breathing can reduce stress, aid in anxiety disorders and digestive disorders. It is also very calming and can be energizing. Yoga can also teach valid breathing techniques that aid in relaxation and can promote sleep. However, what we really are talking about is breathing for relaxation. This type of breathing involves learning how to breathe abdominally or diaphragmatic breathing. Newborn babies and even sleeping adults display this type of breathing. Relaxing breathing is where you inhale air into your lungs and exhale as your diaphragm contracts. This type of breathing isn’t forced and is evenly consistent in cycles. It’s a way to regulate your breathing and promote relaxation.
In order to achieve this breathing on your own, you have to be aware of your breathing patterns and shift them more to abdominal breathing. In doing so, you will reduce anxiety, muscle tension and actually become more relaxed. In order for this to become a successful habit, it has to be practiced time and time again until it becomes like second nature to you. It is rather easy to learn but it is the consistency that pays off.
How To Practice Relaxing Breathing & How It Helps With Sleep
Lie flat on your back on a bed or solid floor.
Keep your knees slightly bent, use a pillow to prop them up if you like.
Place one hand on your chest and one at your waistline.
Breathe in slowly through your nose. The hand on your chest should move, while the one near your waistline should not.
Hold the air for a few seconds.
Next, exhale through your mouth. The hand at your waistline should move with your exhale while the hand on your chest should remain still.
You should practice this for several minutes 4 to 5 times a day. Eventually breathing through your abdomen will come naturally. You don’t need to feel unhinged, tired, or anxious before trying this breathing technique out. Practice makes perfect. So it is okay to practice even if you don’t have issues at the moment.
Regulating the rate of your breathing and wherein the body the breathing comes from forms a sense of relaxation in the body and is much like the autonomic breathing you have while you are sleeping. People also said it may work because it’s a lot like mindful breathing, where you are quieting your thoughts and listening to yourself. To just breathe, alone, brings you to a relaxing place and can induce a sense of sleepiness.
Insomnia or frequently waking up at night is a risk factor for so many things including weight gain and diabetes type 2. It also can increase hormone levels related to stress, raise blood pressure and even affect cognitive function and/or cause brain fog. This is why relaxing breathing can help de-stress you, clear your mind and help you get some good rest.
If you have any type of breathing problems, oxygen problems, or any other health concerns please consult your primary care physician before attempting any breathing relaxation techniques. Your health is very important and you should not try this without consulting a doctor if there is a more serious underlying problem at hand.
Also, if you suffer from Adrenal Fatigue: https://www.drlam.com/articles/adrenal_fatigue.asp Syndrome please read further to understand the pros and cons of relaxing breathing, effects they may have on your body. You can never be too careful these days. Knowing the facts can help you live a much healthier life.
Adrenal fatigue syndrome happens when your adrenal glands become tired. Adrenal fatigue syndrome is caused by stress or factors that take a toll on the adrenal glands and make it hard for them to put out adequate amounts of cortisol. There are many signs and symptoms of AFS including depression, trouble sleeping, lack of energy, need for caffeine or other stimulants in the morning, resisting going to bed, not wanting to get out of bed, cravings for salty foods and other similar ailments. The best way to remedy this condition is reducing stress. You can’t eliminate all stressors, but by eliminating the physical ones, causing the biggest issues, you will be on the right path to helping your adrenal glands useful content.
Sleep disorders and sleep breathing problems are relevant in those who suffer from adrenal fatigue. These are common because the hormone cortisol, and other stress-related hormones, keep harmony between the adrenals and sleep. If they are deregulated it will keep the body alert. It often leads to waking up in the middle of the night or poor sleep quality. Lack of sleep has a negative impact on the body increasing irritability. It disturbs mental function and can trigger things like hypoglycemia and metabolic imbalances.
Often people turn to sleep aids to help. These are not always effective and often times can cause problems in people with certain conventional medical conditions. Using sleep aids with conditions like adrenal fatigue can have adverse effects on your overall health. A better concept is breathing for relaxation. Just like autonomous breathing can help during sleep, relaxing breathing can help you sleep. If you use sleep aids it can overload your body and cause other problems such as liver congestion, leading to concerns about anxiety, fatigue, heart palpitations and even brain fog. Some cases may even bring on adrenal exhaustion or adrenal crashes. Always be sure to talk to your specialist about your sleep problems before trying a self-remedy.
Meditation has long been considered a healthy lifestyle practice. Many people swear by its ability to reduce daily stress, improve emotional well being, and boost overall health. Among meditation’s many uses, meditation for heart health is coming to the forefront as one of meditation’s amazing benefits.
Recently the American Heart Association (AHA) reviewed dozens of studies on how meditation impacts heart health. The report supports the healing effects of meditation. With more than $200 billion spent annually on heart disease, it would serve humanity well to find inexpensive, healthy, and readily available alternatives. Meditation is rising up as a strong preventative to stress, which can not only prevent adrenal fatigue but may reduce risk factors for heart disease as well.
By helping to avoid stress and many several common disease risk factors, can meditation improve heart health and prevent adrenal fatigue?
Meditation for Heart Health: A Statement by the AHA
In the Journal of the American Heart Association, a scientific statement was released entitled “Meditation and Cardiovascular Risk Reduction: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association”. This is the first time the AHA has issued a statement in regards to meditation and heart health. The experts at the AHA have reviewed dozens of studies which were conducted on meditation. The studies reviewed covered eight forms of meditation, their effects on heart disease risk factors, and the recovery of those that had suffered heart disease, such as heart attacks. The risk factors studied included stress, smoking, high blood pressure, and atherosclerosis.
The ground-breaking review set forth by the AHA is an innovative scientific review that incorporates long-held beliefs about meditation’s health benefits with scientific research. The AHA’s findings may open the way to an entirely new field of medical developments for improving the health of the heart and body.
Conclusions of the Study
For many years, it has been speculated that mediation for heart health may be a possible alternative to modern standardized medicines and the new findings by the AHA show support for this ideology. Dr. Glenn Levine, Chair of the American College of Cardiology task force on clinical practice guidelines, says that the studies have shown encouraging results.
However, Dr. Levine also suggests that the data is not yet conclusive to recommend meditation for heart disease as the only way of managing the condition. Though the results were promising, Dr. Levine’s group still encourages using existing methods besides meditation for heart disease, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, and lowering cholesterol.
“Our clear message is that meditation may be a reasonable (additional) intervention, but we specifically do not want people to rely on meditation or other such adjunctive interventions in place of proven therapies,” states Levine. “Meditation should be considered as a potential lifestyle modification, but should not be used to replace standard and proven treatments such as smoking cessation, blood pressure control and treatment of high cholesterol levels.”
Many of the studies covered the effects of meditation on reducing several of the factors common in heart disease, such as meditation and lower blood pressure, meditation and lower stress, etc.. The studies do suggest that meditation at the very least reduces stress and blood pressure, which are both considered strong risk factors in general heart disease. Addressing stress concerns can reduce stress hormones which have been linked to higher risks of heart attack. Lowering blood pressure can damper the risk of general heart disease. Meditation appears to both reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
What You Can Take from the Report
Meditation can be included as part of your daily heart-healthy strategy, so long as you understand that the data has not yet conclusively proven that meditation for heart health has tangible benefits. The AHA and Levine state in the report that they believe people interested in improving their hearts health should certainly consider meditation for heart health, so long as they are also including other “scientifically proven” techniques to reducing risk of heart disease. Levine says “we are extremely encouraged by the findings,” and continues to say that more studies will be necessary to prove the practice of meditation for heart health works definitively.
An Introduction to AFS
Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome or AFS is a condition that will likely affect almost everyone at some point in their lives, yet most physicians don’t even know what it is. The most prevalent symptoms of AFS are lethargy and fatigue, but they also include anxiety, insomnia, brain fog, and an inability to lose weight.
AFS is a condition which afflicts the adrenal glands. These glands are responsible for producing several hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol. These glands are also responsible for maintaining metabolic processes such as balancing blood sugar levels, regulating inflammation, regulating the balance of salt and water in the body, and controlling the “flight or fight” response which is brought on by stress or danger.
The most common cause of AFS is constant and unrelenting stress. The ability to handle environmental and emotional stress is a major key to survival. To cope with stress the body has a system in place, known as the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response. A major component of this NEM response system is the adrenal glands. Over the years, constant stress taxes the adrenal glands, which causes the glands to become fatigued, reducing your body’s ability to deal with stress and creating a range of issues. go right here
I recently received a question from one of my longtime readers, asking if there is any evidence linking adrenal fatigue and the common cold. This reader was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue several months ago and has been battling colds repeatedly ever since. Given the remarkably cold and wet weather the majority of the country is experiencing, I know from research and conversation that many others are also battling colds even into the upcoming summer season. So, let’s take a closer look at this issue and see what the research indicates.
To begin, let’s revisit the basics around what we know about the common cold. Colds are caused by any one of a group of viruses. Mistakenly, many people believe that the most touted virus, the rhinovirus, is the only one that causes colds. In fact, scientists have proven that just over 200 specific viruses are known to cause a cold, with the rhinovirus accounting for only 30 – 35% of cases. American adults average two to four colds per the calendar year, with the average recovery period taking anywhere from 5 – 14 days. The viruses that cause the common cold are transmitted via touch with an infected individual, breathing in airborne particles from someone infected or touching objects that contain the virus (the virus can live up to three hours on objects like keyboards, pens, etc.).
Many in conventional medicine tell us that the common cold is just a fact of life. Eat well, wash your hands, cough in your sleeve and you’ll be OK. A closer look, in light of what we know about adrenal fatigue syndrome, yields a more instructive course of action. The reality is that there is a connection between adrenal fatigue and other illnesses. A compromised endocrine system, specifically one that features adrenal fatigue burnout, is an often overlooked component in the common cold treatment and recovery process. If you are someone suffering from recurring colds, have tried conventional prevention and treatment techniques, consider seeing a naturopathic practitioner or progressive medical MD and have your adrenal function tested. If tests show adrenal burnout, proper supplementation, nutrition and lifestyle changes will go a long way to keeping you cold-free in the coming year.