Season 4

Episode 7

Adrenal Insufficiency

In this episode we discuss adrenal insufficiency 

What Causes Adrenal Insufficiency?

The most common cause of Addison’s disease today is an autoimmune problem, when your immune system malfunctions and attacks and damages your own body, in this case, your adrenal glands.

In this episode we discuss adrenal insufficiency 

You can have either primary, secondary, or tertiary adrenal insufficiency.

Primary adrenal insufficiency is also called Addison’s disease. When you have this type, your adrenal glands are damaged and can’t make the cortisol you need. They also might not make enough aldosterone.

Secondary adrenal insufficiency is more common than Addison’s disease. The condition happens because of a problem with your pituitary gland, a pea-sized bulge at the base of your brain. It makes a hormone called adrenocorticotropin (ACTH). This is the chemical that signals your adrenal glands to make cortisol when your body needs it. If your adrenal glands don’t get that message, they may eventually shrink.  This is the type our guest on this week's episode is dealing with.

Tertiary is due to hypothalamic disease and a decrease in the release of corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH). Causes can include brain tumors and sudden withdrawal from long-term exogenous steroid use (which is the most common cause overall)

What Causes Adrenal Insufficiency?

The most common cause of Addison’s disease today is an autoimmune problem, when your immune system malfunctions and attacks and damages your own body, in this case, your adrenal glands.

Sarah is a patient with hypopituitarism which results in adrenal insufficiency and adult onset growth deficiency. Obtaining a diagnosis was a long and difficult path, but it set Sarah up for the ability to advocate for others. 

 

A former teacher, she now spends her time educating patients on adrenal insufficiency, sharing research and helping them to develop the right questions to ask their doctors in order to find the best quality of life.

 

Nominated for a WEGO Patient Advocacy award, she's a blogger and mom.

 

Adrenal insufficiency may have taken a lot away from Sarah, but she hasn't let it stop her completely.