Happy Autumn All! As we wind down naturally you may notice it’s just harder to get going without the sun. Many reasons could be the cause but I find many times the adrenals are involved.
Check out this old newsletter we are re-releasing in lue of Customer Appreciation Day at Parkway where Dr.Amanda will be conducting FREE adrenal checks Tuesday October 9th from 10-2pm at Parkway! Please come on down especially if any of this fits you!
Introduction to Adrenal Fatigue
Fatigue and lethargy are some of the most common complaints amongst adult patients. Adrenal Fatigue has a broad spectrum of non-specific, yet often debilitating symptoms. The onset of this condition is often slow and insidious. The real truth is that stress and Adrenal Fatigue are not a mysterious entity at all. Our body has a built-in mechanism to deal with it. Being able to handle stress is a key to survival, and the control center in our bodies is the adrenal glands. Adrenal Fatigue was seldom diagnosed as a sickness for the past 50 years. Instead, Adrenal Fatigue was considered a condition whereby no treatment was available other than to tell the person to “relax” and take anti-depressants. This often makes the condition worse as the root cause is left unresolved. Adrenal Fatigue is largely caused by stress along with a host of other factors.
Signs and Symptoms
- Tendency to gain weight and unable to loose it, especially around the waist.
- Tendency to tremble when under pressure.
- Reduced sex drive.
- Lightheaded when rising from a horizontal position.
- Unable to remember things.
- Need coffee or stimulants to get going in the morning.
- Cravings for salty, fatty, and high protien food such as meat and cheese.
- Increased symptoms of PMS.
- Pain in the upper back or neck with no apparent reason.
- Feels better when stress is relieved, such as on vacation.
- Difficulties in getting up in the morning.
Other signs and symptoms include:
- Mild depression
- lethargy and lack of energy
- Decreased ability to handle stress
- Low body temperature
- Unexplained hair loss
- Alternating constipation and diarrhea
If you have any of these signs and symptoms, and you have ruled out other organic pathologies, it is time to consider Adrenal Fatigue as a possible cause. These signs and symptoms are often the end result of acute, severe, or excessive stress and the inability of the body to reduce such stress. Stress, once a “basket” term used y physicians to explain non-specific symptoms, undetectale by conventional blood tests, is not a mystery to the body at all.
Cortisol (the hormone of death)
The most important anti-stress hormone in the body is cortisol. Cortisol protects the body from excessive Adrenal Fatigue by:
- Normalizing blood sugar level. Cortisol increases the blood sugar level in the body, thus providing the enrgy needed for the ody to physically escape threat of injury in order to survive.
- Anti-inflammation response. Cortisol is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.
- Immune System suppression. People with high cortisol levels are very much weaker from the immunological point of view.
- Physiology of stress. People with Adrenal Fatigue cannot tolerate stress and will succumb to severe stress. As their stress increases, progressively higher levels of cortisol are required.
Adrenal Fatigue Progression
Adrenal weakness typically progresses through stages as the body de-compensates. It is the body’s strategy to return to a state of simplicity from a life that is too complex for the body to handle.
Stage 1: Alarm reaction (fight or flight response) in this stage, the body is alarmed y the stressors and mounts an aggressive anti-stress response to reduce stress levels. Some doctors call this the Early Fatigue Stage.
Stage 2: Resistance Response. With chronic or severe stress, the adrenals eventually are unable to keep up with the body’s demand for cortisol.
Stage 3: Adrenal Exhaustion. The adrenals are no longer able to keep up with the body’s increased demand for cortisol production. This may happen over a few years. Total cortisol output is therefore reduced.
Stage 4: Failure. Eventually the adrenals are totally exhausted. When Adrenal Fatigue has advanced to this stage, the line between it and sub-clinical and clinical Addisons disease, also called adrenal insufficiency, can be blurry.
Adrenal recovery is a process akin to running a marathon. The process is long, ut it can be done easily and painlessly, one step at a time. Most will find improvement in a matter of weeks, depending on the degree of pre-existing damage and the clinical skills of the health professional. Hormonal balancing is intricate and is highly sensitive thus, the process can take anywhere from three months to three years under the best of hands. It is best to take it one step at a time under professional guidence to ensure the right step is taken at the proper time. This is especially true for advanced cases. Laboratory tests can be helpful, but are not critical in most cases. The key is a knowledgeable clinician who takes the time to understand your body with its signals and cries for help. A complete nutritional and lifestyle approach that helps the adrenal gland to normalize itself, along with ongoing adjustments in terms of nutritional supplementaion to assist the adrenal during this recovery is key.
Brought to you by: Nicole O’Leary Head MA at Calypso