Updated: May 8
When was the last time you jumped out of bed feeling great: happy, energized, and ready to tackle the day?
If you’re barely dragging yourself out of bed in the morning and running on empty by late afternoon (driving you to coffee or chocolate), if you’re edgy and snapping at your loved ones, if you crave sugar and/or salt and are unable to lose weight, you may have adrenal fatigue.
What is adrenal fatigue?
Your adrenals, two walnut-sized glands that sit atop your kidneys, produce your body’s stress-response hormones: cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. They are also responsible for regulating your metabolism and controlling your blood-sugar levels.
............But the adrenals can only take so much stress.
An assault on the system can lead to adrenal fatigue, also known as adrenal exhaustion, hypoadrenalism, low adrenal, adrenal stress, or adrenal burnout. Exhausted adrenals may be to blame if you can’t handle stress like you used to: it’s a sign that your body’s stress-management system has gone awry.
Among other things, adrenal fatigue disrupts your sleep/wake cycle so that you’re tired during the day but unable to sleep at night. It can also impair your metabolic system so that you can’t regulate your body temperature or your weight: you may have put on weight for seemingly no reason and be unable to take it off.
While often the curse of new mothers, sleep-deprived parents, or menopausal women, adrenal fatigue can affect anyone of any age whose adrenals have been overworked.
In this common condition, your adrenal-gland function has become impaired enough to impact the healthy day-to-day functioning of the body’s maintenance systems.
In general, because your stress-response system is worn out, you can feel – and look– worn out and older than your years. You are, in effect, prematurely aging.
Symptoms can range from moderate (but chronic) to more acute* and include:
Unexplained weight gain, especially around the waist, and an inability to lose it
Inexplicable fatigue or a kind of “wasted” feeling
Daytime exhaustion, late afternoon crashes, sometimes with a burst of “tired” energy at bedtime
Irritability and impatience
“Fight or flight” response in high gear
Muscle and joint pain
Headaches or migraines
Poor memory and fuzzy thinking
Overwhelmed and unable to cope
Depression and/or anxiety
Apathy or lack of motivation
Low sex drive
Low immunity (you catch every cold and flu going around)
Inability to regulate body temperature (cold feet or hands)
Inexplicable food allergies and/or constipation or other digestive problems
*(Acute symptoms can also indicate Addison’s disease, which is a life-threatening shutdown of the adrenal gland, and not to be confused with adrenal fatigue.)
Normal life can take a toll on your adrenals
Naturally resilient, the adrenals are built to respond and adapt readily to stressors, whether physical, physiological, environmental, or emotional. However, an overload to the system – fear, conflict, marital stress, parental stress, grief . . . or alcohol, smoking, caffeine, sugar, toxins, even excessive exercise – coupled with a lack of adequate sleep, nutrients, rest, love, and self-care – can result in decreased adrenal function.
Stress is the main cause of adrenal overload and accelerated aging. Adrenal fatigue is often triggered by a particularly stressful life event or ongoing high-stress period; even just an onslaught of everyday stressors like work, relationships, giving birth, parenting, or poor health habits can lead to this exhaustion of the body's stress-management system.
Adrenal fatigue can be brought on by the following stressors or any combination of them:
Chronic illness or infections
Substance abuse (drugs, alcohol, nicotine)
Poor sleeping habits
Excessive fear and anger
Low thyroid and adrenal fatigue
Low thyroid output is seen by the adrenals as a "stress", which casues the adrenals pump out cortisol. Both low thyroid and high cortisol lead to or exacerbate the various symptoms of accelerated aging. (See our blog posts on cortisol and low thyroid) Provide hyper links.
Stay tuned for our upcoming post on how the adrenals and thyroid work synergistically so that the malfunctioning in one effects or exacerbates the malfunctioning of the other.
A vicious cycle
The adrenal gland affects every bodily system (digestive, immune, detoxification, hormonal); in turn, the malfunctioning of these systems can set off a continuous cycle that results in even more physical and emotional stress, which leads to further disability of the adrenals, and so on.
Chronic and prolonged adrenal exhaustion can eventually contribute to a cascade of health problems, including serious diagnoses such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and cancer.
Most physicians do not recognize adrenal fatigue as a diagnosis; thus, conventional testing for adrenal function is limited to screening for the extreme disease states, Addison’s Disease (too little cortisol) or Cushing’s Disease (too much cortisol).
Patients can suffer for years with adrenal fatigue, and receive attention only when this condition progresses to a more serious diagnosis, in fact many cases of, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromyalgia (FM), are directly realted to the adrenals
With the right diagnoses and the right care, you can feel great again!
Visit Enerchanges clinic if you are showing any combination of the symptoms of adrenal exhaustion. We can help you!
Call the number below to make your appointment to have your hormonal system properly tested.