The Beginning of a Disease for Man and Animal
Second stage (adrenal maladaption) In this phase the adrenals begin to reduce their production and all function of the endocrine system begins to slow down.
When forced to
respond to continued chronic stress the adrenal
glands enter a compensated phase in which the production of
the stress hormones is divergent. Their output of regulatory
hormones has been diminished by over-stimulation.
Signs of Adrenal Maladaption
The body does its best to make up for the under-functioning adrenal glands, but it does so at a price.
Health Conditions Associated with the Maladaption
This stage of resistance or maladaption is characterized by restoration to normalcy. Neuroendocrine hormones, although temporarily excessive, endeavor to compensate for the physiologic changes of the alarm stage. The usual outcome is a return to homeostasis (balance of the bodily functions). If stress is protracted, however, resistance efforts remain activated. Consequently one or more organs or physiologic processes may lead eventually to increased vulnerability for stress-related disorders or progressing to the stage of exhaustion.
To explain the whole process a bit praxis related, let's look at a Headshaking horse, which started suffering of a pollen allergy. Btw over 60 % of all HS horses do hyper-react to some kind of triggers, be it pollen or mold, aso., they often become hyper sensitive as a result of HS, other again reacting with HS on an established allergy. (see idiopathic HS)
body of this horse is out of balance; any pollen can upset
the body's delicate mineral balance and start a chain
reaction that impairs the immune system. These pollen
damages the cell tissues and the body needs 3 to 4 days
between inhaling the allergen to recover. Since the pollen
is flying around not only for one day but for several days,
even weeks, depending on the species and over long
distances, the overloaded immune systems never gets a break.
One fact is clear our horse's system is already stressed by the pain of HS, the immune defense is low. Now add the extra stress of the new disease called allergy
allergens trigger sneezing and inflammation of the nose and
mucous membranes (conjunctiva) of the eyes. The nose, roof
of the mouth, eyes, and throat begin to itch gradually or
abruptly after the onset of the pollen season. Tearing,
sneezing, and clear, watery nasal discharge soon follow the
itching. Headaches and irritability may also occur. HEADACHES!
The poor thing already has headaches. Also allergies
provoke immediate antibody reactions in the bloodstream.
The level of cortisol can be tested with the Adrenocorticotropic Hormone Test
Adrenocorticotropic hormone test (also known as an ACTH test or a corticotropin test) measures pituitary gland function.
The pituitary gland produces the hormone ACTH, which stimulates the outer layer of the adrenal gland (the adrenal cortex). ACTH causes the release of the hormones hydrocortisone (cortisol), aldosterone, and androgen. The most important of these hormones released is cortisol. The ACTH test is used to determine if too much cortisol is being produced (Cushing's syndrome) or if not enough cortisol is being produced (Addison's disease).
ACTH has diurnal variation, meaning that the levels of this hormone vary according to the time of day. The highest levels occur in the morning hours. Testing for normal secretion, as well as for Cushing's disease, may require multiple samples. For sequential follow-up, a blood sample analyzed for ACTH should always be drawn at the same time each day.
ACTH can be directly measured by an analyzing method (immunoassay) in many large laboratories. However, smaller laboratories are usually not equipped to perform this test and they may need to send the blood sample to a larger laboratory. Because of this delay, results may take several days to obtain.
ACTH production is partly controlled by an area in the center of the brain (the hypothalamus) and partly controlled by the level of cortisol in the blood. When ACTH levels are too high, cortisol production increases to suppress ACTH release from the pituitary gland. If ACTH levels are too low, the hypothalamus produces corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) to stimulate the pituitary gland to make more ACTH. ACTH levels rise in response to stress, emotions, injury, infection, burns, surgery, and decreased blood pressure.
An ACTH level is determined from a blood sample. The patient must fast from midnight until the test the next morning. This means that the patient cannot eat or drink anything after midnight except water. The patient must also avoid radioisotope scanning tests or recently administered radioisotopes prior to the blood test.
The risks associated with this test are minimal. They may include slight bleeding from the location where the blood was drawn. The patient may feel faint or lightheaded after the blood is drawn. Sometimes the patient may have an accumulation of blood under the puncture site (hematoma) after the test.
Each laboratory will have its own set of normal values for this test. The normal values can range from: Morning (4-8 A.M.) 8-100 pg/mL or 10-80 ng/L (SI units) Evening (8-10 P.M.) less than 50 pg/mL or less than 50 ng/L (SI units)
In Cushing's syndrome, high levels of ACTH may be caused by ACTH-producing tumors. These tumors may be either in the pituitary or in another area (like tumors from lung cancer or ovarian cancer). Low ACTH levels may be caused by adrenal enlargement due to high levels of cortisol and feedback to the pituitary.
In Addison's disease, high levels of ACTH may be caused by adrenal gland diseases. These diseases decrease adrenal hormones and the pituitary attempts to increase functioning. Low levels of ACTH may occur because of decreased pituitary function.
Source: Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, Published December, 2002 by the Gale Group
In the following chapter we are going to look at the Trigeminal Nerve and different types of Headshaking and I'm certain, now, where you know all about pain, stress and immune system, you will understand your horse's condition a whole lot better. Next page
- Kelly, G. S.
Nutritional and botanical interventions to assist with the
adaptation to stress. 1999
The terms once again, a short definition.
(Adrenal Gland, Adrenals)
Insufficiency (Adrenal Exhaustion, Low Adrenal Function)
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