1. You feel tired for no reason.
2. You have trouble getting up in the morning, even when you go to bed at a reasonable hour.
3. You are feeling rundown or overwhelmed.
4. You have difficulty bouncing back from stress or illness.
5. You need coffee, colas, energy drinks, sodas, to keep going or you crave salty or sweet snacks.
6. You feel more awake, alert and energetic after 6PM than you do all day.
If you answered “yes” to at least two of these questions, you may be experiencing adrenal fatigue, so keep reading. Adrenal fatigue occurs when adrenal gland function becomes less than optimal—usually as a result of stress. Unfortunately, you are not alone – it can affect anyone who undergoes frequent, persistent or severe mental, emotional or physical stress. Adrenal function can also be an important factor in health issues ranging from allergies to obesity, yet it is frequently overlooked and misunderstood by the medical community.
Adrenal fatigue is a collection of signs and symptoms, known as a syndrome, that results when the adrenal glands function below the necessary level. As the name suggests, its paramount symptom is fatigue that is not relieved by sleep but it is not a readily identifiable entity. People may look and act relatively normal with adrenal fatigue and may not have any obvious signs of physical illness, yet they live with a general sense of unwellness, tiredness or “gray” feelings. People experiencing adrenal fatigue often have to use coffee, colas and other stimulants to get going in the morning and to prop themselves up during the day.
Numerous changes occur in the body at the biochemical and cellular levels to compensate for the decrease in adrenal hormones that occurs with adrenal fatigue. The body is trying to make up for under-functioning adrenal glands, but it does so at a price.
What causes adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is produced when your adrenal glands cannot adequately meet the demands of stress. The adrenal glands mobilize your body’s responses to every kind of stress (whether it’s physical, emotional, or psychological) through hormones that regulate energy production and storage, immune function, heart rate, muscle tone, and other processes that enable you to cope with the stress. Whether you have an emotional crisis such as the death of a loved one, a physical crisis such as major surgery, or any type of severe repeated or constant stress in your life, your adrenals have to respond to the stress and maintain homeostasis. If their response is inadequate, you are likely to experience some degree of adrenal fatigue.
During adrenal fatigue your adrenal glands continue to function, but not well enough because their output of regulatory hormones has been diminished – usually by over-stimulation. Also, any time a medical treatment includes the use of corticosteroids, diminished adrenal function is probably present. All corticosteroids are designed to imitate the actions of the adrenal hormone, cortisol, and so the need for them arises primarily when the adrenals are not providing the required amounts of cortisol.
Yes, with proper care most people experiencing adrenal fatigue can expect to feel good again.
In our office we pay special attention to the adrenal function because it is very often a weak link in patients who have a long-term inflammation which is common for arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. We start with a thorough diagnostics to determine the root causes of the fatigue and set up a treatment plan to address these issues. The recommended solution should work better if it takes into consideration not only the results of the medical and lab tests but your personality and lifestyle habits.
Generally speaking, our philosophy is to find natural solutions like dietary changes, herbal supplements, relaxation techniques and physical exercise to treat your specific condition and use medications only when the alternatives don’t work. Even if you disagree with our approach – give it a try – and you will be amazed with the flow of energy in your new revitalized body.