Have you been feeling chronically tired, achy, weak, and apathetic? Perhaps your depressive feelings are a result of a particular hormonal imbalance. It may be possible that you are experiencing adrenal fatigue.
I Never Heard of Adrenal Fatigue!
There are several reasons why many of us have only recently begun to suspect adrenal fatigue as the culprit for our low stamina and lack of overall well-being. (It is also known as hypoadrenia). The primary reason is that adrenal insufficiency is not commonly recognized as a medical diagnosis. Another is that some physicians may be treating just one symptom as opposed to treating the entire body as a collection of systems that needs re-balancing.
What are the Adrenals?
The adrenals (also known as the suprarenals) are endocrine glands. They are found above the kidneys. Adrenal glands produce hormones, which include: adrenaline, aldosterone, and cortisol. They work in conjunction with the hypothalmus and pituitary gland to help regulate countless body processes including: mood, digestion, the immune system, and energy levels.
Symptoms of Adrenal Insufficiency
Nothing in this article suggests that you should self-diagnose. In fact, for some of the symptoms listed below, you may want your healthcare provider to run blood tests to rule out more serious ailments. For those who believe adrenal fatigue exists (and can be treated), here are some of the symptoms a person may experience:
- unexplained weight loss, or, conversely, storing extra fat
- low blood pressure
- joint aches
- muscle weakness
- low stamina
- decreased tolerance to cold
- depression or apathy
- lowered resistance to infection
- a thyroid condition (ie. hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s)
What’s Happened to My Adrenals?
This may not be your situation, but for some, their adrenal glands cannot keep pace with the chronic production and influx of coritsol and adrenaline. These particular hormones are stimulated by fight-or-flight states of being; this basically means ongoing, heightened stress. The adrenals can’t make enough hormones to keep you feeling good and strong when your body is in an almost constant “fight”, “fear”, or “anxiety” mode.
Many holistic physicians believe that all humans experience hypoadrenia at one point in their lives or another. Any conditions that continuously place strain and high stress on an individual can cause adrenal fatigue over time. Excessive stress, nutritional depletion, chemical or metal toxicity, irresolvable financial pressure, etc. are some of the major factors that lend to adrenal weakening.
Additionally, some situations that increase risk from suffering from adrenal fatigue can be:
- caretaking of an elderly or incapacitated family member
- new parents who also work outside the home
- students in college or post-graduate school
- those in constant fear of physical or emotional abuse
How Can I Found Out if I Have Adrenal Fatigue?
Straight-up, run-of-the-mill blood tests aren’t often sensitive enough to detect small declines in adrenal function. (Large declines are noticeable medically, and your doctor can address other causes and treatments for such hormonal discrepancies.)
One simple test a physician can perform is called the Ragland Sign. For this test, the healthcare provider takes your blood pressure while you are relaxed, lying down. Then, shortly after, you get up suddenly, and the doctor takes your blood pressure right away, again. The numbers should go up. If they don’t, it could be a sign of weak adrenals—especially if you instantly feel weak, dizzy, or shaky upon jumping up. This is, of course, a crude test, but it’s a start toward deducing and identifying…
Something you can try at home in preparation for your doctor visit is another rudimentary test. Take a salad fork and gently run the spikes up the inside of your forearm. Within about 10 seconds, you will see little red streaks (lines). If you do not, it is possible your adrenals are weak. Please do not dig the fork deeper into your arm if you don’t see desired results the first time.
Ways to Reverse Your Adrenal Fatigue
Whether your physician recognizes or identifies your symptoms as caused by adrenal overexertion, you can always treat yourself in safe, healthy ways. The key will be diet, lifestyle, and gentle detoxification.
Again, please never self-diagnose from Wikipedia, an alternate medical Internet source, or even this article. The aim here is to inform and increase awareness. If you’re not feeling what you know to be your best health, there’s no reason why you can’t take several safe steps to improve your overall wellbeing—regardless of any diagnosis. Here are some tips:
- Reduce or discard caffeine consumption. Stimulants damage the adrenal glands.
- Sugar is a stimulant and erodes adrenal function. Try to eliminate it.
- Alcohol is your adrenals’ enemy. Reduce or eliminate intake.
- Believe it or not, anger and raging (inside or outside your body and mind) are stimulants. Practice mind and body techniques such as yoga and meditation.
- Add coconut and olive oils to your diet
- Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin B12
- Load up on green, leafy veggies and other nutrient-dense foods
- Get at least 8 hours sleep per night—at least
Whether your doctor accepts or discards adrenal fatigue as a cause for your symptoms, you can still always boost your health by boosting your adrenals. As mentioned, your adrenals are part of your endocrine system. Check in to see if you are treating all your organs and other bodily systems properly with best health practices. For tips and up-to-date info on these and other health topics, please peruse other articles here on GetThrive!