Saturday, August 15, 2009

Kiddo update

If you'll remember we took the kiddo in last week to get a couple blood draws to test the levels of cortisol in his system.

My very basic understanding is this: Cortisol's most important function is to help the body respond to stress. It is a corticosteroid hormone pumped out by the adrenal glands as part of a body's fight-or-flight response. It also helps regulate your body's use of protein, carbohydrates, and fat; helps maintain blood pressure and cardiovascular function.

The Kiddo's results came back low. A test that we were relatively sure would eliminate a problem actually ended up confirming one and our little tiny 4 year old has what is called hypo-cortisol levels or hypocortisolism. I'm not sure I can adequately explain what that means since I'm not altogether sure myself. When the Doctor told us to get this test done he explained that after the results came back, IF the Kiddo had the problem, that is when he would explain it and answer our questions. He didn't want to before then because if the results came back normal then there was no need to worry us about it.

The lack of information left me very concerned and confused when we learned that his levels are low. Because I am an information junkie (learned that from my mom) I have, since yesterday, been doing quite a bit of research to try and learn what I can on my own. I still can't explain it very well but I have found a few web sites that seem to have good information for those of you who are interested.

The first site is one that talks directly about low cortisol levels in children. The symptoms, causes and treatments.

The second site is one I found via webmd (thank daddy) it is an article talking about something called Addison's Disease. The reason I link you to this particular article is because if I understand things correctly that is what the Kiddo has. I like this article a lot because it explains the cause in such a way that gives me a better understanding of how it could be connected to the other medical conditions the Kiddo has:

"...If the adrenal glands are affected by a problem starting somewhere -- such as the pituitary gland -- it's called secondary adrenal insufficiency.” The Secondary adrenal insufficiency is a less common cause but the article states that it “can be caused by problems with the hypothalamus or pituitary gland, located in the center of the brain.”

One of the reasons for the Kiddo’s ONH AND his Hypothyroidism is his pituitary gland. Therefore, if I understand things correctly, all three problems stem from his pituitary gland not functioning quite the way it should. One big medical mess tied to a single little gland.

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