A Look at the Autoimmune Adrenal Process
Autoimmune adrenal process is sometimes the cause of adrenal fatigue. Learn the signs of adrenal autoimmunity and which tests to take to know whether or not an autoimmune condition is responsible for your fatigue.
As prevalent as fatigue might be for people in today’s world, the real source of exhaustion still manages to go undiagnosed in most cases. Most medical doctors still have difficulty with the issue of adrenal fatigue, and often only reach a diagnosis of exhaustion when something as severe as Addison’s disease presents itself in testing. And even that diagnosis is a rare one, though the prevalence of adrenal autoimmunity would seem to argue that there are far more cases than statistics would suggest.
For fatigue sufferers, knowing about these autoimmune issues can be important for identifying one’s own condition, since many exhausted individuals end up relying on self-diagnosis or alternative medicine practitioners for their care and treatment. That’s because most of these autoimmune cases don’t get diagnosed until the adrenal tissue is so damaged that it is all but irreversible. That makes early detection an important priority.
Symptoms of Adrenal Autoimmunity
There are some clear symptoms that can indicate the presence of adrenal autoimmunity. Many of them can also indicate low aldosterone and corticosteroid levels, so they are not conclusive for this condition. However, they can provide some evidence that would justify a more comprehensive test.
- Severe fatigue that is ongoing
- Difficulty tolerating stress
- Weight loss or gain
- Feeling depressed, anxious, or confused
- Pain in the muscles and joints
- Abdominal discomfort
- Loss of equilibrium
- Physical weakness
- Salt cravings
- Low blood pressure
Effects of Autoimmunity
The danger of this condition is clear: when the adrenals reach the point where they can no longer produce the cortisol the body is demanding, the entire stress response mechanism breaks down. That places every system in the body in danger, and can result in the type of health crisis that can actually kill you. It is vital that the signs that reveal this crisis situation be recognized so that proper action can be taken to preserve your health and life.
Signs of Autoimmune-Related Adrenal Crisis
- Critically low blood pressure
- Abnormal Bloodstream Sodium Levels
- Stomach Pain, Nausea and Vomiting
When those signs present themselves, seek medical attention immediately. If your immune system is indeed breaking down due to adrenal fatigue, your quick action can make the difference between life and death!
Obviously, the safest course of action is to avoid letting the situation get to a crisis point. That, of course, requires early detection and then a treatment program to minimize and reverse the damage done to your immunity, while also healing your adrenals.
The best test for this condition is one that involves testing for the presence of autoantibodies. These antibodies work against your own tissue, and target the adrenals for destruction. One of the best tests is the Array 5 antibody panel from Cyrex Laboratories. It screens for abnormal antibody production, as well as several other factors that can contribute to autoimmune issues with the adrenal glands.
If the tests are negative, you can typically deal with your adrenal fatigue using diet and other lifestyle modifications. If, however, the test comes back positive, then it is a clear indication that you may be on the path to developing Addison’s disease. In that case, you should consult with your physician about the appropriate treatment regiment to either prevent the disease altogether or block its progression. The important thing to remember is that early detection and quick action are the keys to preventing the severe damage this condition can do to your health.
You might also be interested in:
- Addison's Disease. http://autoimmune.pathology.jhmi.edu/diseases.cfm?systemID=3&DiseaseID=16
- Addison’s Disease Causes. http://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/addisons-disease/addison-disease-causes
- Adrenal Insufficiency and Addison's Disease. http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/adrenal-insufficiency-and-addisons-disease
- Addison disease. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000378.htm
- Addison's disease. http://www.yourhormones.info/endocrine_conditions/addisons_disease.aspx