If you have an autoimmune thyroid condition such as Graves’ Disease or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis/Disease you may wonder how your condition developed in the first place. That’s still in debate in the medical community, there isn’t one specific cause that leads to these conditions but different causes of autoimmune thyroid conditions.
One of the causes however that is important to understand and get checked and help with immediately if you have thyroid problems is having problems with your adrenal glands.
Problems with adrenal glands takes time to develop over a course of many months, or in most cases, many years. I know that by the time I found out I had Hashimoto’s Disease a year ago I’d been a basket case for a long time, my adrenal lab tests showed I was flatlined, they (and I) were exhausted.
How do our adrenal glands get exhausted? There are typically three primary ways in which people develop weakened adrenal glands:
1. Eating too many refined foods and sugars.
Eating refined foods and sugars on a regular basis will affect the hormones insulin and cortisol. It will cause the pancreas to secrete insulin, and the adrenal glands to secrete cortisol. When this happens frequently over a period of many years, causing the adrenal glands to secrete cortisol regularly it weakens the adrenal glands. This in turn can lead to immune system problems, and thus eventually cause the development of an autoimmune thyroid condition.
Eat whole foods, and try to minimize (I say eliminate all together!) the consumption of refined and processed foods. See My Thyroid Diet for direction.
2. Not a sufficient amount of sleep each night.
Not getting at least 7-8 hours sleep each day can affect your adrenal health. Not getting sufficient sleep will also affect the cortisol levels. The cortisol levels should normally be at their highest levels in the morning, and then decrease as the day moves on, with the lowest levels being at night right before going to bed. Obviously this will differ for someone who works a third shift, but for someone who works a regular shift, staying up late watching television, surfing on the internet, or doing other things, followed by waking up early in the morning will affect your adrenal health if done for a prolonged period of time.
Having thyroid problems can cause sleep problems too, it becomes a vicious cycle. I experienced this big time, waking up several times a night, not falling to sleep, not sleeping well. Your brain and body can’t function long this way, believe me! Fog brain and irratibility take over quickly. The adrenals are nose-diving.
SOLUTION: Take charge of your sleep schedule to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and more than this if possible – no excuses! See my other posts on Sleep Problems.
3. Doing a poor job of managing stress.
Adrenal glands are designed to handle acute stress situations. Unfortunately our “modern society” is spinning and morphing so much, and we tend to react to it intensely, that most people deal with a lot of chronic stress. Chronic means non-stop, leading to weak adrenal glands by causing them to constantly secrete the hormone cortisol. They never get a break!
SOLUTION: There will always be stressors – people, things and events that trigger us to feel stressed – but you do have the power to change how you react to whatever life throws at you. Take charge and take care of your body while you’re at it. In other words, manage how you deal with stressors, or they will manage you!
TWO OTHER CAUSES
4. Digestive issues.
Chronic digestive issues can also weaken the immune system, and potentially can lead to the development of an autoimmune condition.
When I was a teenager I was having a lot of what is now called IBS problems. My stomach/bowels were irritated a lot. My mom took me to the doctor and thank goodness it was one who “got it!” He said, “You can take some medication or you can stop letting your emotions bother you so much.” Magic! No pills thanks! He was right and I did much better shifting how I “reacted” to what what happening around me at home and school.
SOLUTION: Eat foods that do not distress digestion; manage stress to stop reacting and upsetting your emotional and digestive body.
5. Environmental toxins
Pollution, pesticides and hormones in foods and water, and chemicals in everything can potentially trigger an autoimmune thyroid condition to develop.
SOLUTION: It’s challenging, but purification programs can help to clean out many of these toxins as well as minimizing your exposure to these toxins in the future.
Weak and exhausted adrenals can lead to a compromised immune system. A compromised immune system can lead to an autoimmune condition.
BACK TO THE THYROID
Weak adrenal glands put the body in a state of catabolism (the degradative metabolism involving the release of energy and resulting in the breakdown of complex materials (as proteins or lipids) within the organism) which means the body will be breaking down. This in turn will cause the thyroid gland to slow down this process, which can lead to a hypothyroid condition. So the combination of the hypothyroid condition and the compromised immune system can lead to the development of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. (This is what I had.)
It’s no joke that “catabolism” sounds like “cannibalism!” Autoimmune diseases are a condition where your body’s cells are literally attacking and, well, eating, themselves!
TURN YOUR HEALTH AROUND NOW
Use the SOLUTIONS mentioned above and do your best to take charge of your health now. If you don’t, it can only get worse with time.
Plus, even if you don’t “feel” any problems today or “yet,” remember this, a person can be 80% unhealthy before disease shows up!
Find immediate answers in my Get Your Life Back! Manual and Checklists. Click here to find out more and start healing today.