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Pituitary.org says that 1 in 5 people suffer from pituitary dysfunction - even more so if you have suffered any kind of jolt to the head, as have many war veterans.
Though hardly bigger than a pea, this master gland has enormous control over how we act and feel because it regulates how other glands operate. Therefore any damage to this gland can result in a wide range of symptoms affecting numerous body organs. Its affect on cortisol and adrenaline, for example, can drastically impair overall quality of life, leading to extreme fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, depression and even death.
More and more brain injury specialists are calling for routine pituitary hormone screening, especiallty for war veterans who are particularly vulnerable to damage, because any trauma or stress, alone, can alter hormone production.
Pituitary.org insists that other health practitioners should be doing the same, because pituitary tumors are very common and, like TBI, this condition is very often misdiagnosed as mental and other illness. What’s worse is that medications being used to treat the misdiagnosed conditions are only making the pituitary problem much worse.
Tell the Veterans Administration to offer pituitary hormone screening to all veterans who suffer from head trauma and other stress.
We, the undersigned, say it’s shameful that the VA should still be pushing psychoactive drugs on veterans suffering from TBI and PTSD, without first screening for pituitary dysfunction.
Of further concern is that sites about TBI and PTSD like US Dept of Veteran Affairs' “Make the Connection” fail to make the connection between these conditions and hormonal imbalances, even though the symptoms of all are in many ways identical.
The Neuroendocrine Clinical Center (Harvard Medical School) noted in 2005 that the connection to hypopituitarism and brain injury had been known for at least 80 years, and “recent evidence shows an even higher prevalence of anterior pituitary deficiencies than previously thought.” But that was 2005! So why isn’t screening being done routinely now for all Veterans - as well as many others who suffer head and other trauma?
Just last June, the Endocrine Society meeting in Chicago discussed a new study that found pituitary dysfunction in soldiers suffering blast injuries “may be an important, under-recognized, and potentially treatable source of their symptoms.”
Dr. Mark Gordon, whose practice is located in Encino, California, has known about the pituitary/brain trauma connection for some time and has even offered free testing to veterans who cannot afford it. So there’s no excuse for the VA not doing the same.
This is really about cutting costs that are far too costly, in the end, to be cutting. It’s past time for the VA to recognize the need for a simple screening that could not only improve the lives of many suffering veterans, it could reduce the disturbing number of suicides among returning vets and other Americans.
We request that the VA offer this screening to all veterans suffering from TBI and PTSD.
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