While all these symptoms may occur in a number of different medical conditions, the presence of a large number of these symptoms strongly suggests that you are experiencing a degree of adrenal fatigue.
The Adrenal Glands
The adrenal glands are two small glands that are located on top of each kidney. The hormones secreted by the adrenals influence every major physiological process within the body including protein, fat, carbohydrate metabolism, blood sugar regulation, immune competence, inflammation control, hormone regulation and healthy cardiovascular and gastrointestinal function. The purpose of the adrenal glands is to enable your body to deal with stress from all sources (internal and external). When adrenal function is compromised, alterations occur at the biochemical and cellular level within the body and one experiences changes in protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism, impaired fluid and electrolyte balance, disordered function of many distant organs and deranged hormone production.
When the adrenal glands are functioning normally they secrete tiny, yet precise amounts of hormones that enable you to function normally and respond healthily to the numerous stressors that one is exposed to on a daily basis.
The adrenals are designed to respond rapidly to any changes that may occur within your body or in your external, physical environment (this includes any physical, biochemical, emotional, hormonal and psychological or energetic changes).
Burnt Out Adrenals
This finely tuned balance may be adversely affected by many factors, especially any excessive physical, emotional, environmental, hormonal biochemical or psychological stress. Prolonged stress in these areas can overwhelm the adrenal glands capacity to respond effectively and results in decreased output of the essential adrenal hormones.
Any decreased adrenal gland activity may result in many varied clinical signs and symptoms; the most common of these being persistent unexplained fatigue.The degree of severity of adrenal fatigue (also known as hypoadrenia) varies from person to person and fortunately the most severe form of hypoadrenia, Addisons Disease, is uncommon. People with milder forms of adrenal fatigue may only experience a persistent “run down” feeling and have some difficulty in managing or keeping up with life’s daily demands. In more severe cases, adrenal gland activity is so severely compromised that the person suffering with it may have difficulty getting out of bed for more than a few hours each day.
There are many factors contributing to adrenal gland dysfunction including prolonged illness or stress, financial stress, loss of a loved one, poor diet, infections, poor sleep, marital stress, toxin exposure, psychological stress, poor lifestyle choices and others. One may experience a single cataclysmic even such as death of a loved one or a serious illness, or one may experience a number of smaller stresses that persist over a prolonged period of time.
Adrenal fatigue occurs when the amount of stress the body is exposed to overextends the capacity of the adrenals to respond to, and compensate for.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue are variable but some of the common presenting symptoms include persistent unexplained fatigue, difficulty getting up in the morning, feeling unrefreshed after a good night’s sleep, fuzzy thinking, impaired memory, muscle or joint pain, tiring easily after minor exertion, mild depression, salt cravings, hypoglycaemia, a decreased capacity to handle stress, increasing irritability, a loss of enjoyment in usual activities, getting sick or experiencing more frequent infections (and taking longer to recover), low libido, feeling extremely tired between 2-4pm in the afternoon, et al.
So those experiencing adrenal fatigue have an impaired capacity to function in both their personal and work lives. They have significantly compromised quality of life and the complications arising directly from the diminished adrenal hormone production has many health consequences.
Diagnosing Adrenal Fatigue
In order to diagnose or exclude adrenal fatigue, it is essential to exclude all other significant causes of persistent fatigue; while also performing tests of adrenal function.
An Australian study shows 42% of patients presenting to their family doctor complain of fatigue. Because fatigue is such a common complaint and occurs in so many other conditions, an adrenal cause may be overlooked.
Simple tests of adrenal function are available in Australia and include a full hormone assessment, tests for adrenal, liver, renal and thyroid function, as well as testing for leaky gut, emotional and psychological status and any nutritional deficiencies.
Treatment of Adrenal Fatigue
Treatment involves correcting the deficiencies that directly result from impaired adrenal function as well as correcting any end organ damage or hormone imbalances that arose from it. Correcting any biochemical and hormonal abnormalities, individual tailored prescription of nutritional supplements along with diet and lifestyle changes enable persons with documented impaired adrenal function to return to full health. Importantly, energy levels are restored to that of a young, healthy individual.
Recovery is rapid with patients reporting marked improvement in 2 weeks and an almost full recovery within 3 months.