Recently we did public speaking at my school this is my speech.
Did you know that 1 in every 10,000 people (myself included) have adrenal insufficiency. Just so you know that is a medical condition. Good whatever the time is students, teachers, and possibly judges, today you ask and today I tell you. What is adrenal insufficiency? Why is it a problem? And how do I feel about having it?
Adrenal insufficiency is when the adrenal glands, which are glands that make hormones, don’t produce enough steroid hormones, mainly cortisol. But what does that mean? Let me explain. As you can probably guess, the adrenal glands have the job of producing steroid hormones, which are steroids that act as hormones. Yes there are natural steroids in your body, but I won’t talk about that. As a result, it can impair production of aldosterone, something that helps you conserve sodium. Since you lose sodium, a component of salt, there’s a likely chance you’ll crave salty food, I know I do! There are 3 types of adrenal insufficiency. Primary, secondary, and tertiary. The differences are how you get them. I have primary, which is mainly caused by Addison’s disease. It can also be caused by something unknown or in my case, congenital adrenal hypoplasia.
Why is all that a problem?Congenital adrenal hypoplasia is the result of a gene mutation that can affect production of (sighs) sex steroids, which can delay puberty, stop it entirely, and in my case, cause it to trigger early. Fortunately, I haven’t experienced a lot of the affects, just some hair growth. However, I also need to take cortisol pills regularly. Now is the time to mention what cortisol actually does. It can regulate metabolism, suppress the immune system, control blood sugar and more! It also helps the body react to stress, buuut cortisol is necessary for life. If someone with adrenal insufficiency gets seriously injured or sick, they can go into a low cortisol state called adrenal crisis, which can lead to death.
So how do I feel about all this? What are my experiences relative to adrenal insufficiency?
Well, when I was in second grade, I found out I had adrenal insufficiency. That was a bit surprising but I went on with my life. From then on I had to take regular cortisol pills. When I started with the pills I would often forget to take them. I still forget sometimes today! I also started visiting the doctor more frequently. About once every three months! That year, if my memory doesn’t desert me, was the first time I got pancreatitis. At first I thought it was related to my adrenal insufficiency but turns out it’s not! I also started having to get bloodwork done whenever I went to the doctor. The frequent pancreatitis also meant other things like visiting a dietitian. Now’s the time to admit something, before I started writing this speech, I barely knew what adrenal insufficiency was. Now I know more, but there are still things no one knows!
I’ve had adrenal insufficiency for around 3 years now. In that time a lot has happened to me. Adrenal insufficiency is a relatively unknown condition unless you have it of course. It can cause problems but ultimately it’s not that bad compared to other medical conditions. As I mentioned before, there’s still things we’re learning about it all the time and you should donate to a research program if you so wish. Most days I barely think about the fact that I have adrenal insufficiency. I’ll admit I barely even remember the night I found out I had it. I do remember it was late at night and my parents told me that I had adrenal insufficiency. I’m not sure what I thought in that moment, but it likely was, “Huh, I guess this is happening now.”
The speech is now finished but if you want to learn more about adrenal insufficiency check out this link.