What Is it? Adrenal Fatigue is the most common for of Hypoadrenia (Hypo – Low, Adrenia – referring to the functions of the adrenal gland). Adrenal fatigue refers to the sub par/disrupted functioning of the adrenal glands which can manifest itself in many different ways throughout the body. The adrenal glands secrete minute, yet very precise and balance amounts of steroid hormones. A couple of the myriad of hormones produced are: Cortisol, DHEA, Estrogen (for males), Testosterone (exclusively for females), and a whole bunch of others.
What Causes It? Simply put a mismanaged life. Stress of any kind can disrupt the delicate adrenal process greatly. Stressors like a lack of good quality sleep, job, finances, dental surgery, injury, the loss of a loved one, chronic intense exercise without adequate recovery, lack of proper nutrition, food sensitivities, intolerances, and allergies and much, much more.
How Do I Know? There are lots of symptoms of adrenal fatigue; some people suffer from all, some from few. Here is a list to of what to look for:
– Low Blood Sugar/Sugar Cravings
– Increased Fear
– Increased Anxiety
– Fuzzy Thoughts
– Lack Concentration
– Respiratory Infections
– Easily Frustrated
– Memory Lapse
– Chronic Fatigue
– Salt Craving
– Low Sex Drive
– Hard To Get Up In AM
– Less Enjoyment
– Increased PMS
– Fatigue Not Relieved By Sleep
– Don’t Really Wake Up Until 10AM
– Energy Drop b/w 3-4PM
– Lightheaded When Stand Up Fast
– Energy Rise After Evening Meal
– Symptoms Increase With A Skipped Meal
What Can I Do? Sleep. Sleep hard and well. Make it a point to go to bed and get up the same time everyday. Find out what time, what foods give you the best quality of sleep and learn to reproduce it. Start making a point to take time for yourself. Take time to play, to enjoy, to relax, to smile. It seems simple but it’s very important to stop and enjoy life a little. The key here is Prehab not rehab. Take care of stress before it becomes a problem. Don’t ignore it, when stress arises, acknowledge it, come up with a solution and move forward. Exercise should be fun, and not long in duration.
A simple test for adrenal fatigue is to take the blunt end of a ball point pen. Lightly drag it across your stomach making a line approx 6inches long. A white line should appear, and then seconds later turn red. If you have adrenal fatigue the line stays white and gets wider for longer than that. This test only works in approx 40% of people with adrenal fatigue however when its does work it is almost a certainty.
You can get diagnosed with adrenal fatigue however most doctors don’t test for it because it’s not a severe enough problem. Even if they do test you can still be suffering from adrenal fatigue and fall within their “normal” range. If you think you may be suffering from severe adrenal fatigue, take the time and find a knowledgeable medical practitioner that can help.
You can also check out “Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome” a very helpful book written by James L. Wilson Ph.D.