Article
Adrenal Fatigue
By Diane Vanas on August 24th, 2008(viewed 2026 times).






How can you tell if you have Adrenal Fatigue?

You may be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue if you regularly experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • tired for no reason
  • trouble getting up in the morning even when you go to bed at a reasonable hour
  • feeling rundown or overwhelmed
  • can't bounce back from stress or illness
  • crave salty and sweet snacks
  • feeling best only after 6 PM

Adrenal Fatigue is a health disorder that can affect anyone who experiences persistent or severe emotional or physical stress. It is also an important contributing factor in health conditions ranging from allergies to obesity.

Adrenal Fatigue is a collection of signs and symptoms, known as a "syndrome", that results when the adrenal glands function below the necessary level. Most commonly associated with intense or prolonged stress, it can also arise during or after acute or chronic infections, especially respiratory infections such as influenza, bronchitis or pneumonia. As the name suggests, its paramount symptom is fatigue that is not relieved by sleep but it is not readily identifiable.  You may look and act relatively normal with Adrenal Fatigue and may not have any obvious signs of physical illness, yet you live with a general sense of unwellness, tiredness or "gray" feelings. People suffering from 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.

This syndrome has been known by many other names throughout the past century, such as non-Addison's hypoadrenia, sub-clinical hypoadrenia, neurasthenia, adrenal neurasthenia, adrenal apathy and adrenal fatigue. Although it affects millions of people in the U.S. and around the world, conventional medicine does not yet recognize it as a distinct syndrome.

Adrenal Fatigue can wreak havoc with your life. In the more serious cases, the activity of the adrenal glands is so diminished that you may have difficulty getting out of bed for more than a few hours per day. With each increment of reduction in adrenal function, every organ and system in your body is more profoundly affected. Changes occur in your carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism, fluid and electrolyte balance, heart and cardiovascular system, and even sex drive. Many other alterations take place at the biochemical and cellular levels in response to and to compensate for the decrease in adrenal hormones that occurs with Adrenal Fatigue. Your body does its best 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 response to every kind of stress (whether it's physical, emotional or psychological) through hormones that regulate energy production and storage, 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. If they don't, or if their response is inadequate, you will experience some degree of Adrenal Fatigue.

In Adrenal Fatigue your adrenal glands function, but not enough to maintain your normal, healthy homeostasis. Their output of regulatory hormones has been diminished by over-stimulation. This over-stimulation can be caused either by a very intense single stress or by chronic or repeated stresses that have a cumulative effect.

 

Adrenal Function

No bigger than a walnut and weighing less than a grape, each of your two adrenal function glands sits like a tiny pyramid on top of a kidney ("ad" "renal" means "over" the "kidneys"). But don't let their size fool you; these powerful little endocrine glands manufacture and secrete steroid hormones such as cortisol, estrogen and testosterone that are essential to your health and vitality. They not only significantly affect the functioning of every tissue, organ and gland in your body, they also have important effects on the way you think and feel. Without the hormones the adrenals produce you would die.

The main purpose of your adrenals is to enable your body to deal with stress from every possible source, ranging from injury and disease, to work and relationship problems. They largely determine the energy of your body's responses to every change in your internal and external environment. Whether they signal attack, retreat or surrender, every cell responds accordingly, and you feel the results. It is through the actions of the adrenal hormones that your body is able to mobilize its resources to escape or fight off danger (stress) and survive. In a more primitive society that would mean being able to run away quickly, fight or pursue an enemy or game, endure long periods of physical challenge and deprivation, and store up physical reserves when they're available. In modern society, these same responses are triggered by such circumstances as a difficult boss, air pollution, family quarrels, financial problems, too little sleep illness and overindulgence in or sensitivities to food or drugs. If your adrenal function is low, as it is in Adrenal Fatigue, your body cannot respond and adapt properly to these stresses. This can lead to a variety of physical and psychological health problems that are themselves a further source of stress.

It is also your adrenal glands' job to keep your body's reactions to stress in balance so that they are appropriate and not harmful. For example, the protective activity of anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant adrenal hormones like cortisol helps to minimize negative and allergic reactions, such as swelling and inflammation, to alcohol, drugs, foods, environmental allergens, cancer, infection, and autoimmune disorders. These hormones closely affect the utilization of carbohydrates and fats, the conversion of fats and proteins into energy, the distribution of stored fat (especially around your waist and at the sides of your face), normal blood sugar regulation, and proper cardiovascular and gastrointestinal function. After mid-life (menopause in women), the adrenal glands gradually become the major source of the sex hormones circulating throughout the body in both men and women. These hormones themselves have a whole host of physical, emotional and psychological effects, from the level of your sex drive to the tendency to gain weight. Every athlete knows that steroids (adrenal hormones) affect muscular strength and stamina.

Even your propensity to develop certain kinds of diseases and your ability to respond to chronic illness is influenced significantly by the adrenal glands. The more chronic the illness, the more critical the adrenal response becomes. You cannot live without your adrenal hormones and, as you can see from this brief overview, how well you live depends a great deal on how well your adrenal glands function.

http://www.adrenalfatigue.org/index.php

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