Addison’s disease is a rare endocrine disorder that occurs in all age groups and is characterised by the reduction in the production of a hormone known as cortisol and aldosterone. Interestingly, Addison’s disease affects predominantly males during childhood and females during adulthood.
There are two main categories of Addison’s disease:
1) Primary adrenal insufficiency
2) Secondary adrenal insufficiency.
In a primary adrenal insufficiency, the adrenal glands do not produce enough cortisol and aldosterone whereas in the secondary adrenal insufficiency type, there is a lack of hormone produced by the brain to stimulate the adrenal glands to release cortisol.
Affecting approximately 10 in 100,000 individuals, common symptoms include:
Conventional western medical treatment for treatment of Addison’s disease is replacing the hormones the body is not making by taking medicines. In these cases it is important to ensure plenty of calcium and vitamin D are consumed.
 Australian Addison’s Disease Association
 The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)
[5} National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
There are many medical descriptions that have dated back many years. The term ‘Adrenal Fatigue’ however is not one of these. It is a relatively recent moniker that previously medical doctors have dismissed. However it is now understood that Adrenal Fatigue describes a collection of relatively non-specific symptoms including:
The adrenal glands are located on top of the kidneys and produce an array of hormones such as cortisol (the stress hormone) and adrenaline. Adrenal Fatigue is thought to occur when there is a reduction in the amount of hormones being produced by the adrenal glands.
As adrenal fatigue per se is not a disease or condition, in order to reduce and overcome symptoms, it requires understanding of the underlying causes. The onset of these symptoms may be attributed to:
1. Poor lifestyle choices
2. Medical conditions
3. Stress, or
Examples include shift work, excessive or deprived sleep, substance abuse, poor diet, depression and lack of exercise.
As the causes of adrenal fatigue can be varied and complex, a full and thorough medical history, physical examination and pathology (including blood and urine tests) and radiology (including x-rays, CT scans or MRI’s) may be required.
 Campos, M2018, FebruaryIs adrenal fatigue “real”? health.harvard.edu/blog/is-adrenal-fatigue-real-2018022813344
 Better Health Channel (2015, June) Fatigue. betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/fatigue
In order for day-to-day functioning, our bodies are required to convert a type of sugar known as glucose from food into energy. This process is facilitated by a hormone known as insulin. Broadly, diabetes is a chronic condition whereby there is an insufficiency of insulin leading to a build up of glucose in the blood.
There are three main types of diabetes:
1. Type 1 diabetes
2. Type 2 diabetes, and
3. Gestational diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors and usually has an onset during childhood. Of the three types, type 2 diabetes is the most common form. This type of diabetes is attributed to poor lifestyle factors including poor diet, smoking, lack of exercise and being overweight/obese. Gestational diabetes is first recognised during pregnancy and usually resolves after the baby is born. Most mothers who have had gestational diabetes will have no long term diabetes.
Currently there is no cure for diabetes but there are effective management strategies to control blood glucose level. These include regulating weight management, diet, physical activity, self-management and if blood glucose levels are recalcitrant to these, then medications may be considered. These are usually in the form of oral tablets, and/or insulin injections if more severe. It is vital to ensure a balanced blood glucose level as high blood glucose levels can result in serious complications such as nerve damage, heart disease, infections, kidney damage and eye damage.
Balanced diet, low in carbohydrates and low GI (glycaemic index). Foods where starch is reduced and the amount of carbohydrate is known and standardized. Sugar should avoided.
Foods to be Avoided
The total amount of carbohydrate which may be taken daily is fixed by your doctor. The chief carbohydrate foods are sugar, bread, biscuits, flour, jam, dried fruits, some sweet fruits, potatoes and other root vegetables. Glucose and sugar being practically pure carbohydrates are to be reduced, as are foods rich in sugar or starch. Keep away from sweets, pastries, cakes, sauces and gravies thickened with flour.
 The Department of Health – Australian Government (2016, November) Diabetes. health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/chronic-diabetes
 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2019, October). Diabetes. aihw.gov.au/reports-data/health-conditions-disability-deaths/diabetes/overview
 Diabetes Victoria. About Diabetes. diabetesaustralia.com.au/about-diabetes
 Better Health Channel (2015, March) Diabetes. betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/diabetes
Hyperhidrosis is a disorder characterised by the excessive or uncontrollable production of sweat. Hyperhidrosis affects approximately 3% of the population, and despite public perception, actually affects both males and females equally. The cause of hyperhidrosis is thought to be due to dysfunction of the ‘sympathetic nervous system’ (the ‘fight-or-flight’ response system of the body).
There are two types of hyperhidrosis:
1. Focal hyperhidrosis where only certain areas of the body such as hands, armpits or feet are affected, and
2. Generalised hyperhidrosis where there is excessive sweating affecting the entire body
It is postulated generalised hyperhidrosis to be due to underlying medical conditions such as endocrine diseases, neurological disorders and some medications.
Treatments for both kinds of hyperhidrosis include behavioural therapy involving relaxation techniques to help reduce stress and anxiety, including binaural therapy, medication such as nerve-blocking medicines, iontophoresis (electrical currents delivered to affected body part) and surgery (to remove the sweat gland).
 The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (2013, May). Hyperhidrosis and bromhidrosis – A guide to assessment and management. Embarrassing Problems Vol 42 (5) 257-353
 Healthdirect (2017, November). Excessive sweating (Hyperhidrosis). healthdirect.gov.au/excessive-sweating-hyperhidrosis
The average age of Menopause in Australia is 51 years old. Some women are affected much earlier than this, while others a number of years after. You may have one or more symptoms consistent with the hormonal changes in your body, such as:
Regular western medicine may involve prescription HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy), however it is important to understand potential risks with these. Please discuss with your GP prior to commencing these.
Affecting over 1 million Australians, osteoporosis is a very common ‘silent’ condition where there is loss of bone thickness or mass. This occurs when bones lose minerals such as calcium more quickly than the body can replace them. When this happens, the bone becomes less dense, more brittle and more susceptible to fractures. Throughout childhood to the end of our teens, bone growth occurs and by the 25-30 year old age range, peak bone mass has been achieved.
There are usually no overt symptoms of osteoporosis and in most cases individuals with osteoporosis do not realise they have the condition until a fracture happens. However, there are key risk factors for osteoporosis such as:
Because of these risk factors, strategies targeting these factors can be applied to prevent osteoporosis. Treatment of osteoporosis includes diet changes, lifestyle changes and in some cases health care professionals may recommend medication.
 Osteoporosis Australia (2014, October) Osteoporosis what is it? osteoporosis.org.au/what-it
 Better Health Victoria (2019, March) Osteoporosis betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/osteoporosis
The thyroid is a gland found in the neck and throat region and is important in the production of hormones that help control bodily function. When the thyroid is defective in its function and or structure, it can lead to abnormalities in metabolism, heart rate, blood pressure and weight.
Thyroid problems can thus be broadly categorised into two categories thyroid dysfunction and structural disease.
In thyroid dysfunction, there are two main types:
1. Hyperthyroidism and
Hyperthyroidism is defined as an overactive thyroid whereby the thyroid is overproducing hormones. In these cases individuals affected by hyperthyroidism tend to exhibit symptoms of:
There are multiple factors which can cause hyperthyroidism but the most common is from an immune system abnormality condition known as Graves’ disease. There are no cures for hyperthyroidism, but there are effective medications and treatments to stabilise thyroid function. It is important to note, individuals who are affected from hyperthyroidism to get regularly checked as it is common for affected individuals to develop hypothyroidism as treatment for hyperthyroidism causes the thyroid to become underactive.
When the thyroid gland becomes underactive and hence cannot produce enough hormones, this is termed as hypothyroidism. This condition mainly affects women over 40 and like hyperthyroidism is caused by a multitude of factors such as a diet low in iodine or an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto disease. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
Treatments for hypothyroidism aim to replace the thyroid hormone.
Thyroid problems can also be a consequence from structural change in the thyroid glands. For example, lumps known as nodules can form in the thyroid and can cause pain in the throat area, difficulty breathing and swallowing, and swelling. In approximately 1 in 10 cases, benign thyroid nodules can become malignant (cancerous) and can cause hyper function of the thyroid gland.
 Health Direct (2018,November) Thyroid problems healthdirect.gov.au/thyroid-problems
 Better Health Victoria (2011, December) Thyroid – hyperthyroidism betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/thyroid-hyperthyroidism
 Health Direct (2018, November) Hypothyroidism healthdirect.gov.au/hypothyroidism
 Healthy WA – Department of Health. Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/F_I/Hypothyroidism-underactive-thyroid
 Thyroid Foundation Australia. Thyroid Nodules thyroidfoundation.org.au/Thyroid-Nodules
 Mackenzie and Mortimer (2004) Thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2004.tb05894.x