Are you feeling stressed all the time? Do not have the energy to keep up with your daily routine? Can’t get a good night’s sleep at night? Chances are you are experiencing Adrenal Fatigue. Many Western doctors still do not consider this as a ‘medical condition’ and is under-diagnosed in many people. Up to 80% of the population are suffering from adrenal fatigue.
We’ve identified a few major signs and symptoms so you can see if you are experiencing adrenal fatigue and do something about it.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
This refers to a condition of the adrenal glands when it is exhausted and functioning below the right levels and therefore can’t produce sufficient amounts of the glucocorticoid cortisol hormones. Your adrenals are the organs that sit over the kidneys and are responsible for protecting us from every kind of stress to the body whether it is internal, external, thermal, hormonal, physical, emotional or psychological. When the adrenal glands can’t keep up with demands placed on them from the amount of stress, it is known as adrenal fatigue.
Although it is somewhat similar to adrenal dysfunction such as adrenal insufficiency or Addison’s disease, this is a totally different case. This is normally associated with people suffering from long term or intense stress. It can also result from post-infections usually respiratory illness such as influenza, bronchitis or pneumonia. It is also common in people who have a poor diet and lifestyle, and have too much pressure in the lives. Constant repeated chronic stress will cause adrenal fatigue.
There are common signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue – our body has a way of telling us that we are not getting enough sustenance to stay active and do our daily tasks, and we get the feeling of always being tired. While none of these is relevant with adrenal dysfunction, a noticeable pattern develops when all these factors are taken into consideration.
The adrenals secrete over 50 hormones which regulate your immune function, heart rate, energy and other bodily processes that help you cope with stress in the body. When stress affects the wellbeing of an individual, the adrenal glands are usually involved. They are the first glands to fails under stressful conditions.
In females they are a major source of DHEAS and testosterone. After menopause they are major source of estrogen and progesterone.
In males they are a mjor source of DHEAS and testosterone.
They are necessary for the functioning of life and responsible for:
- Energy production (carbohydrates, protein and fat conversion to blood glucose)
- Fluid and electrolyte balance
- Fat storage
- Sex hormone production (especially after menopause)
Common symptoms of adrenal fatigue:
- Lack of energy, feeling tired most of the time for no reason.
- Feelings of unwellness, feel blue or grey, mild depression
- Everything takes more effort.
- Hyperventilation – frequent sighing, gasping for breath.
- Need for coffee or energy drink each morning for that ‘pick me up’.
- Afternoon lows usually 2-4pm.
- Lack of enthusiasm in daily work tasks
- Lost productivity at work and home
- Increased food cravings, especially salty foods and fatty foods.
- Muscular weakness
- Changes in weight.
- Mild constipation or diarrhea that increases under stress.
- High or low blood pressure.
- Hard time dealing with stress, feelings of overwhelmed, anxiety attacks and depression.
- Insomnia, or sleeping long hours but still waking up exhausted.
- Increased menopausal symptoms, severe PMS or menopause symptoms.
- Low libido and sex drive.
- Frequent infections, illness or trauma, which take a longer time to recover.
- Frequent nervous break-downs.
Many other conditions can overlap, however several of the above symptoms are present. Adrenal imbalance is not always the root cause.
How to treat Adrenal Fatigue?
Since this is more of a lifestyle condition, people suffering adrenal fatigue should:
- Rest – emotional, mental and physical
- Restful sleep (8hrs+, early to bed, sleep until 9am)
- Alleviation of stressful situation, minimise stress
- Give up smoking
- Avoid coffee, soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit drinks, white carbs
- Restrict alcohol intake
- Stop any recreational drugs
- Do more exercises
- Eat Regular meals
- Eat a more healthy diet, good in quality proteins and oils with unrefined carbs
- Avoid fruits in the morning, eat more vegetables (alkaline, 5 servings a day)
- Restrict sugar intake especially chocolate, junk foods
- Follow a daily routine for sleeping and waking up
- Don’t get out of bed until you think of someting pleasant.
- Laugh more – great for healing (movies, books, comedy nights)
- Try meditating, breathing, yoga or other methods to reduce stress regularly
- Try acupuncture and herbal medicine to rebalance the adrenal glands and reduce stress.
There are also natural supplements which treat adrenal fatigue. Remember that a healthy lifestyle, proper diet and nutrition is always the best cure to any disease.