Does excessive and ongoing stress lead to adrenal fatigue?
We talk about stress all the time. Everyone agrees that life often seems out of control and that our stress levels feel like they are constantly rising. In fact, we talk about it so much and relate it to so many parts of our lives that there is a very real danger that we have come to accept ongoing, elevated stress levels as normal. They are not. An article in the Miami Herald reports, “According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. And more than 75 percent of all physician office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.”
Stress is the body’s natural reaction to situations that pose some sort of threat, either real or imagined. The “fight-or-flight” response kicks in, which triggers the heart rate to increase, breathing to quicken, blood pressure to rise and muscles to tense, ready for action. In situations where there is some sort of actual threat, this can be the difference between life and death. When stress is routinely triggered, however, it can wear out the different systems of the body and make you sick, both mentally and physically.
One of the reasons that so many people talk about how stressed they are is because of the fatigue that goes with it. It is believed that chronic or excessive acute stress can have a negative effect on the adrenal glands, causing a decrease in adrenal hormones, especially cortisol. This results in what many refer to as adrenal fatigue or adrenal exhaustion.
Symptoms of Impaired Adrenal Glands
When the adrenal glands are not functioning properly, it can lead to a wide range of symptoms. Some of these include:
- Fatigue without an appropriate cause or that does not go away after what should be adequate rest
- Difficulty waking and getting up in the morning
- Feeling stressed and continually “run-down”
- A craving for salty or sweet foods
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Inability to focus
- Memory issues
- Trouble going to sleep or staying asleep
- Weight gain, especially around the waist
- Loss of sexual desire or unable to function
It is essential that the adrenal glands function properly. If they have been negatively affected by stress, they can usually be put right again through some combination of proper nutrition, adequate sleep, regular exercise, supplements and Bioidentical Hormone Restoration Therapy. It goes without saying that a key factor to returning and maintaining healthy adrenal function includes ongoing and effective stress management. If the situation or situations that caused the stress in the first place are not managed in such a way as to remove or, at the least, drastically reduce the triggers, then no amount of exercise or sleep or anything else will be enough. This may require some type of counseling in order to learn how to effectively manage not only the current stress in your life but be prepared for what will undoubtedly be around the corner.
At the Southern California Center for Anti-Aging, we strongly believe correcting imbalances and deficiencies in nutrition, along with improving fitness and balancing and restoring hormones with Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy, can offer help with adrenal fatigue, while creating the foundation for a healthier and happier life.
To learn more or to discuss any of our services, take advantage of our Free Consultation by clicking here to use our convenient online form.
The adrenal glands are responsible for regulating the body’s response to stress by controlling the hormones released during stress. Stress damages the functioning of the adrenal glands causing a decrease in the output adrenal of hormones, especially cortisol. Adrenal fatigue is any decrease in the ability of the adrenal glands to carry out their normal functions. Adrenal fatigue is the primary cause of “burn-out,” common diseases and chronic illnesses, in which fatigue is one of the primary symptoms and stress is the primary cause.
The adrenal glands respond to every kind of stress in the same manner. Examples of stress that can cause to adrenal fatigue include, poor diets, lack of exercise, use of stimulants, lack of sleep, lack of relaxation, illness, overwork, major surgery, financial pressures, negative attitudes and beliefs, fears, marital stress, smoking, death of a loved one, and job stress. Although severe fatigue is the major complaint of patients with adrenal fatigue, often multiple non-specific symptoms are associated with it.
Some symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:
- Feeling tired for no reason
- Having trouble getting up in the morning
- Feeling run down and stressed
- Craving salty or sweet snacks
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Confusion, poor concentration, and memory recall
- Gaining weight, especially around the waist
Adrenal fatigue can be suspected based on clinical exam and symptoms. However, none of the standard laboratory tests currently in use are designed to detect adrenal fatigue. Checking cortisol levels either in blood or saliva at certain times of the day may indicate a deficiency of the hormone cortisol.
Treatment begins with an attempt to relieve stressful situations as much as possible. Lifestyle changes such as diet modification and exercise can help tremendously. Limit the consumption of processed foods, alcohol and tobacco because these substances put extra stress on the adrenal glands. Take small breaks to lie down during the day, increase relaxation, eat regular meals, exercise regularly and get at least 8 hours sleep nightly.
If you believe you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue, call Southern California For Anti-Aging today for a adrenal fatigue consultation at 424.247.4962.