By: Frank Nuber, RPh. –
Adrenal fatigue is a health disorder that can affect anyone, but especially those who experience persistent emotional or physical stress. It can contribute to other health conditions including allergies and obesity. It’s estimated that up to 80 percent of people will be afflicted with adrenal fatigue at some point in their lives. Despite this apparently common occurrence, diagnosing correctly and finding reliable and helpful treatment can be difficult.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
It comes under many names: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, non Addison’s hypoadrenia, sub- clinical hypoadrenia, neurasthenia, adrenal neurasthenia and adrenal apathy. Adrenal fatigue is a collection of symptoms that’s brought about when the adrenal glands begin to function below their optimum levels. The most common precursor to adrenal fatigue is prolonged stress. This includes daily stress brought on by job, family, financial and other obligations as well as stress brought about by illness such as upper respiratory disease, bronchitis, influenza, pneumonia or when some other chronic health condition exists.
How do I get Adrenal Fatigue?
Your adrenal glands produce a variety of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which help humans to cope with stress. These hormones also produce the “fight or flight” response. When undue stress has the adrenals working overtime, their output eventually diminishes due to over-stimulation. As with any organ of the body, the adrenals have a limit on how long and how much they can produce without rest. In adrenal fatigue, the adrenal glands continue to function, but not effectively enough to maintain a normal, healthy homeostasis.
Overstimulation of the adrenal glands can be caused by an intense stress or chronic stress. I find that many women have hormonal stress due to hormone imbalances, which slowly develop into chronic stress and adrenal fatigue. It’s hard for today’s modern woman to avoid this type of chronic stress. She typically works a full or part time job, cares for children, does most, if not all, of the household chores, cares for the family pet and may have responsibilities for her aging parents. Combine these competing responsibilities with an improper diet, poor sleep habits and a possible hormone imbalance, constant stress is the result. Left unresolved, adrenal fatigue is the likely outcome.
Finally, whenever a medical treatment includes the use of a corticosteroid, as when suffering from an outbreak of poison ivy or controlling chronic asthma, the medication has a tendency to suppress the normal output of cortisol. When this happens, the adrenals can take a long time to come back online and work efficiently again. In the meantime, while their ability to function is hampered, an adrenal insufficiency is produced.
What are the Symptoms?
The extreme tiredness that characterizes adrenal fatigue can’t be relieved by sleep. Other symptoms include brain fog, poor concentration, faulty memory, low sex drive, irritability, depression and difficulty sleeping (either too much or waking frequently at night). Further, those suffering from adrenal fatigue often begin to battle weight issues due to a much slower metabolism. Adrenal fatigue can rob sufferers of their zest for life and, as it progresses, affect every organ system in the body. The immune system also suffers when adrenal fatigue is present due to insufficient cortisol levels necessary to regulate that system.
What to Do if You Have Adrenal Fatigue
If you suspect you have adrenal fatigue, you will need to adjust your dietary preferences and lifestyle in addition to confirming the diagnosis with adrenal function tests.
The following steps can put you on the path to health again:
- Resting at 10:00 a.m. and again from between 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
- Sleeping in until 9:00 a.m. frequently
- Having a good laugh
- Participating in some type of exercise
- Reducing stress
- Eliminating negative people in your life
- Eating regular meals consistently
- Chewing your food well (no gulping!)
- Doing something fun each day
- Eating unrefined carbohydrates along with protein and oils
- Avoiding junk food
- Eating five to six servings of vegetables each day
- Taking magnesium and calcium supplements
- Adding sea salt to your diet
- Making sure your hormones are balanced
It is possible to recover your health after receiving a diagnosis of adrenal fatigue. However, you will need to be patient as it may take many months for your body to stabilize. Call us we can help.
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