adrenal fatigueDo you always feel tired, moody and depressed? After a full nights rest do you still feel exhausted when you wake up? Are you a zombie without your morning coffee and find it near impossible to say no to sugary and salty foods?

These are all symptoms of adrenal fatigue, a condition caused by too much stress. You aren’t alone, it’s estimated that up to 80 percent of adults suffer from adrenal fatigue. Yet it is a health problem that continues to be misdiagnosed, overlooked and in the long term deadly.

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue appears when the adrenal glands function below what the body needs. In essense, the adrenal glands leave the party! Most commonly associated with intense or prolonged mental, emotional, or physical stress, it can also arise after acute or chronic infections, especially respiratory infections such as influenza, bronchitis or pneumonia. As the name suggests, its principal symptom is fatigue that is not relieved by sleep. However, it is not a readily recognizable entity like chicken pox or a growth on your your nose. Those with adrenal fatigue may not have any obvious signs of a physical illness, however they live with an overall sense of feeling crappy. Most will use coffee, cola, other stimulants or even recreational drugs to make it through the day.

Common Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue:

  • Trouble thinking clearly
  • Chronic fatigue and weakness, especially in the morning and afternoon
  • Low sex drive
  • Cravings for foods high in salt, sugar, or fat
  • Multiple food allergies
  • Alternating diarrhea or constipation
  • Dry and thin skin
  • Poor memory
  • Unexplained hair loss

In more serious cases, the adrenal glands are so weak that some people may have difficulty getting out of bed for more than a few hours per day. With each reduction in adrenal function, every organ and system in your body become more greatly affected. Changes can occur in your protein, carbohydrate, and fat metabolism, fluid and electrolyte balance, heart and cardiovascular system, and sex drive. There are many more adjustments the body makes to compensate for the decreased adrenal hormones, and this all comes at a price.

What causes adrenal fatigue?

When your adrenal glands are not able to meet the demands of stress (mental, emotional, or physical) adrenal fatigue can begin. The adrenal glands, located on top of each kidney, release hormones that respond to stress by altering immune function, energy production, heart rate, muscle tone in a reaction to help your body cope with the stress. One of their most important tasks is to get your body ready for the “fight or flight” stress response, which means increasing increasing cortisol, adrenaline and other hormones.

This response increases your heart rate and blood pressure, slows your digestion and basically gets your body ready to face a potential threat.

While this response is good when its needed, many of us constantly faced with stressors (work, environmental toxins, not enough sleep, worry, anxiety, etc.) and are in this “fight or flight” mode for far too long- much longer than was ever intended from an evolutionary standpoint. Surgery, the loss of a loved one, or a constant emotional stress can cause the adrenals to be stuck in the on position. Eventually the adrenals will tire and fail.

Who is at risk for adrenal fatigue?

Everybody. We can all experience adrenal fatigue. Illnesses, prolonged difficulties and continuous situations or a life crisis can cause even a healthy persons adrenals to become drained.

There are some who are more at risk for adrenal fatigue;

  • Lifestyle Choices- poor nutritional choices, substance abuse, poor sleeping habits, stressful work environment or combined internal or external pressures
  • Chronic Illness or Repeated Infections
  • Toxic Chemicals- chemicals in our air, water, and food; household cleaning products, some beauty products
  • Stressful Living Environment- bad relationships, financial difficulties, or a stressful job

Can you recover from adrenal fatigue?

Yes, most people experiencing adrenal fatigue can expect to feel good again if they seek proper care. Maintaining a healthy diet, going to bed before 11 pm, B vitamin supplementation, hydration, and supplementing with adaptogenic herbs can help you recover from adrenal fatigue. Some people may even need supplemental cortisol to dig out of the adrenal fatigue hole.

The most important step is to identify and remove stressors. Emotional stressors such as relationships or financial problems need to be dealt with and normalized. It might require a change in hours, or even occupation.

Allow yourself to enjoy daily stress relieving activities, whether it be a long walk, prayer and meditation or reading a book. Some find that weekly massages are helpful. Engage in activities that create laughter and a happy environment, and stay away from those that drain you, life is too short to waste time on those who steal your joy. Make the necessary changes to restore your health.

Find a physician skilled in hormonal stress management – they can help get you on the right track quicker.

For more information visit our website or call 214-205-0012.