Adrenals/Thyroid: Common Misdiagnosed Twins
Thyroid insufficiency is one of the most difficult to diagnose and misdiagnosed conditions in medical science today. Yet, an insufficiently functioning thyroid is easily confused with another common misdiagnosed condition. It has a twin - the adrenal glands. Does this sound like anything you or a loved one maybe going through?
Restless leg syndrome
Fatigue and feeling tired despite sufficient hours of sleep.
Insomnia, weight gain, and depression.
Hair loss, acne and dry skin.
Reliance on stimulants like caffeine.
Cravings for carbohydrates or sugars?
Poor immune function, cold intolerance (cold hands and feet?)
Fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, and/or chronic fatigue syndrome
Feeling exhausted? Low on willpower?
Having difficulty losing weight?
Low stamina for stress
Excess mood responses after eating carbs (hypoglycemia)
Low blood pressure (momentary lightheadedness upon standing up)
Low resistance to respiratory infections
Difficulty recuperating from extra exertion or jet lag
The list is almost infinite as there is probably nothing which the thyroid gland does not effect in the human body.
Now, did you think it's your thyroid? Think again...because many hypothyroid symptoms are so similar to adrenal fatigue that the two are often confused.1
Have you been subjected to periods of prolonged and excessive stress? If so, your underlying problem may be adrenal fatigue. Perhaps it is your body's way of telling you that it is not receiving the support it needs to maintain healthy body function - possibly originating from both your over-stressed adrenal and thyroid glands. You just might be dealing with a combined thyroid/adrenal condition both crying out for help.
On top of this confusion, tests for thyroid and adrenal problems are often difficult to interpret correctly. Some doctors believe that even if you had low thyroid function, it could be adrenal stress causing the problem to begin with, which would be difficult to diagnose without more tests.2
Over the last thirty years I personally been subjected to prolonged periods of extreme stress. I'll spare you the details. I have been diagnosed as having a "lazy thyroid" (hypothyroidism), chronic fatigue syndrome ("it's all in your head"), and in general have had most if not all of the above symptoms.
As a Christian I believe in divine healing although I always allow the Holy Spirit leadership in determining which is His path of divine healing. And after much prayers over this health issue, and various failed attempts at getting well at the hands of doctors and health practitioners, I decided to explore the possibility that it was not only a thyroid but an adrenal insufficiency problem as well.
Let’s have a look at the adrenals, two walnut-sized organs that sit on top of your kidneys. They are the workhorses of your body. If you are exhausted, chances are, both your adrenals and their twin partner the thyroid need attention.
What happens when the adrenals and thyroid have lost their life force or "spirit?" Your digestive system, the organs in your brain (e.g., hypothalamus and pituitary), your thyroid, liver, endocrine system, sexual organ system, heart and central nervous system suffer.
Let’s consider the adrenals as an emergency tool, much like jumper cables or tire chains for your car. These special tools are useful occasionally to help you get out of a stuck situation.
In keeping with the car analogy: your thyroid is like your car's gas pedal, providing your energy, vital force and forward motion for any and all activity. In addition, your sex glands are like the ignition key, which releases electricity to the starter and spark plugs. Sex glands control whether there is joy, quality, and "spark" in your life. And finally, complementing and in unison with the other two systems, the adrenals are like your car's steering wheel, allowing you to maneuver the turns in the road, to get around sudden obstacles, and to safely reach your destination.
However, there is hope in that medical science is beginning to think that the two, the thyroid and adrenal glands, are tied together some how. The problem with this is that some doctors actually recommend testing patients for possible low-adrenal function, before starting them on thyroid hormone medication. However, this is seldom done.
Due to the fact that full-blown adrenal insufficiency is really quite rare, most patients who have a sub-clinical form may suffer a negative reaction from implementing thyroid medication. Without the proper diagnoses and implementation of a comprehensive program of treatment, patients are many times left to suffer until either their own adrenals slowly recover on their own or until they add some adrenal support to their regimen to help them recover.
A simple question can be asked. If sub-clinical hypothyroidism is recognized and pre-diabetes (insulin resistance) and other sub-clinical organ dysfunctions are recognized, why is it not also the case with adrenal insufficiency?
Recommended Natural Alternative Treatment :
From my own experience with these easily misdiagnosed twins, a holistic approach to health recovery should be administered first before medication.3 It can be inexpensive and sometimes, even free and there are few medical doctors who wouldn’t approve. Replacing sugar with stevia for instance; using herbal tea instead of coffee; rest & recreation; several small meals a day instead of three larger ones; getting plenty of rest, exercise and Vitamin D sunshine - much the same as with thyroid treatment, all of these contribute to a rapid healthy restoration of one’s adrenal and thyroid glands.
This writer does not believe that adrenal fatigue is an underlying factor in just about every physical, emotional and spiritual problem we are suffering from today. But it does go almost hand in hand, almost as twins, with undiagnosed cases of hypothyroidism and needs to be seriously addressed and considered by the medical profession when symptoms appear that seem to say, "it’s all in your mind".
Beverly Anne Sanchez, Factoidz, 2010