Adrenal Insufficiency, also known as Addison’s disease, is a hormonal condition that affects men and women. The adrenal gland produces cortisol, a stress hormone. It controls how the body responds to stress by maintaining blood pressure, managing the immune system and regulating insulin. It also determines how the body processes fats, protein and carbohydrates. When the adrenal gland is not working properly, there can be a number of health issues that arise.
Early Signs of Adrenal Insufficiency
The symptoms of this condition can begin slowly, and since they are similar to many other kinds of health problems they are easy to brush off as something minor. These include fatigue, loss of appetite and muscle weakness. Weight loss is also a common symptom, but because people are eating less, they often do not see this as a concern.
Symptoms as the Severity Increases
Sufferers who are unaware they have the condition, and are not treating the problem will experience low blood pressure that can increase to fainting spells or dizziness when standing. The skin may begin to darken, known as hyperpigmentation. This is commonly seen on the elbows and knees, but can occur on other parts of the body. Other symptoms include vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. Some people may experience periods of depression and an increase in irritability. Sufferers often crave salty foods and may have low blood sugar. Menstrual periods become irregular and may cease.
Warning Signs of Acute Adrenal Insufficiency
Adrenal failure is a serious issue that requires immediate medical care. People who experience this are usually those who have ignored all previous symptoms and have done nothing to get the problem under control. The signs are pain, usually in the lower back, but also occasionally in the abdomen or legs. Severe and uncontrollable diarrhea and vomiting and loss of consciousness can occur. Upon examination the patient will be found to have low blood pressure, a high level of potassium and low sodium levels.
Natural Remedies for Adrenal Insufficiency
Nature provides plenty of solutions for restoring hormonal balances. There are many ways people can treat this issue on their own, without restoring to prescription drugs.
Diet: The first step to take is adjusting the diet. In this instance, switching to a natural, organic diet that is sodium-rich. Avoid any food like wheat or dairy that the body may be sensitive to and bump up carbohydrate intake slightly, but do so naturally with foods like quinoa and lentils.
Vitamins: Many people suffering from Adrenal disease have a vitamin deficiency. Consider eating foods rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin D, selenium and zinc. Vitamins B12, B5 and B6, as well as omega 3 fatty acids are also helpful. A supplement may be needed in the beginning to get all of the nutrients necessary.
Herbs: Licorice is one of the most recommended herbs for treating adrenal insufficiency. It contains triterpenoid saponins that helps the body to balance its cortisol levels. It needs to be used sparingly however, because it can raise blood pressure levels. Ginkgo biloba, Korean Ginseng and Astragalus are three more of the commonly known herbs that can assist with balancing the adrenal glands, but they are not the only other options. There are many that can help to address the symptoms of the disease, like depression, but also treat the causes of it as well.
Green Tea: Green tea contains a high level of phytochemicals, known for their benefit to the adrenal glands. Not only will green tea boost energy, it can also protect a damaged immune system by providing high levels of antioxidants.
Water and Sleep: Adrenal insufficiency robs the body of its fluids and sleep. Increase water intake and get more sleep. Take a warm bath before bedtime, avoid electronic devices and sleep in a dark room.
Being aware of the symptoms of adrenal insufficiency and making changes in diet and sleep as soon as those symptoms begin can help to prevent the condition from getting worse. Despite the fact that natural remedies can help, that does not mean the disorder will go away naturally. Without a concerted effort to counteract the disease it will progress and can become very serious.