Addison’s disease is a disorder of the endocrine system. Also known as hypocorticism, Addison’s is a chronic condition in which the adrenal glands fail to produce the necessary levels of cortisol and aldosterone, two hormones which are vital to the total health of the body. These hormones are instrumental in the proper regulation of blood pressure and insulin production, and help to control the body’s metabolism. Cortisol and aldosterone are also crucial to maintaining the healthy functioning of the heart and the kidneys. While Addison’s is relatively rare, it can present at any age, and affects men and women in equal proportion.
Symptoms of Addison’s Disease
Addison’s disease can be difficult to diagnose, as symptoms tend to present only when the patient is under extreme physical or emotional stress. The most common symptoms of Addison include:
- chronic fatigue
- muscle weakness
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- dark skin blemishes
Left untreated, Addison’s can lead to sudden drops in blood pressure, kidney failure and shock. Conventional treatments for Addison’s consist of a steady regimen of drug therapies and synthetic hormone supplements. While these treatments can compensate for the output of the compromised adrenal glands, they leave patients dependent upon chemical therapies that are toxic to the body. Increasingly, Addison’s patients are turning to natural therapies to control their symptoms. These natural treatments help patients to manage their Addison’s symptoms without bombarding their bodies with often toxic drugs and chemicals.
Herbal Treatments for Addison’s
Herbal remedies can offer relief from the symptoms of Addison’s, and can help the body prepare for, and guard against, further symptomatic flare-ups. Naturopathic healers use herbal supplements that possess adaptogenic properties to treat patient’s with Addison’s disease. Adapotgens, found in many natural foods and herbs, improve the body’s overall ability to cope with physiological stress. Stress is a key component in the occurrence of Addison’s symptoms. Through the use of these adaptogenic herbs, clinicians can help their patients improve their ability to handle physical stress, thereby reducing the occurrence, and severity, of Addison’s symptoms. The most common herbs used to help with Addison’s include green tea extract, milk thistle, echinacea, Siberian ginseng and astragalus.
One of the most positive herbal additions for Addison’s involves the use of ashwagandha as a regular nutritional supplement. The extract from the roots of the ashwagandha plant helps to stimulate the nervous system, strengthening the body’s natural ability to cope with physiological stress. Ashwagandha also helps to address the low levels of cortisol production on Addison’s patients, and offers a natural way to increase cortisol levels without resorting to synthetic hormones or drug dependent therapies.
Exercise and Addison’s
Exercise can be difficult for some Addison’s patients. The chronic fatigue and muscle weakness associated with the disorder can make regular exercise seem impossible. But regular exercise can not only increase the body’s core strength, it trains the body to better handle those physiological stresses that can set of Addison’s symptoms. Cardiovascular exercises, such as rebounding, jogging, swimming and aerobic exercise offer the best support for Addison’s sufferers. These exercises are low impact, easy to perform, and can be eased into and developed as the patient builds up their strength and stamina.
As physiological stress is such a major component in the occurrence of Addison’s symptoms, it is important for patients to learn to manage both their physical and emotional stress levels. Emotional stress and anxiety is a key trigger for physiological stresses that adversely affect the body. Nearly everyone can point to a case of the flu or common cold that was preceded by a period of anxiety or depression. If these emotions can lower our body’s ability to naturally stave off common maladies, they can definitely hinder the body’s ability to cope with more complex health issues.
Addison’s patients who have learned to manage their stress levels through controlled breathing techniques, and through the meditation on the word of God, have found that their symptoms become less severe. Indeed, through regular prayer and meditation on the word, Addison’s sufferers can relieve both the mental and physiological stresses which inhibit the body’s natural healing energy. Prayer, devotion, and meditation God’s word frees the natural energy of the body to cope with the physiological stresses that can trigger the symptoms of Addison’s disease.
A diagnosis of Addison’s disease can be life altering, and left untreated can lead to serious health conditions. But, with the help of natural approaches to restore one’s health, and a devotion to the word of God, patients can learn to manage their symptoms and experience the healing energy within themselves.