Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal Fatigue

What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal Fatigue is a term used to describe a slough of symptoms – also classified as a syndrome – demonstrating that one’s adrenal glands are working improperly.

Adrenal fatigue is not defined by one indicator, but a group of seemingly ambiguous symptoms. Likely to appear as vague or inconclusive symptoms that you may not realize are all indicating a dysfunction, but seen typically as a prolonged feeling of excessive fatigue and existing at a lower level of tolerance for life and typical activities than usual. After prolonged time of dysfunction, this excessive fatigue can results in a significant impairment and altered quality of life.

Causes of Adrenal Fatigue

The adrenal glands are a part of your endocrine system and work to release hormones your body requires to cope with stress and perform basic bodily functions. Once upon a time, these hormones were used for survival (you’ve heard of “fight or flight”). Over time, as we have progressed as a species, we have adapted and our stressors have adapted and shifted. While at this day in age, we may not be hunting in the safari or running from a predator, stress still affects our hormones and organs the same way it always has. These hormones control our energy levels and production, vital signs like heart rate, muscle response and strength, and other metabolic functions that allow the body to respond to a variety of situations for optimal survival.

When the adrenal glands are impaired and functioning below the level required to manage your stress, adrenal fatigue appears. Adrenal fatigue can be caused by a one significant life event/stressor, or prolonged mini stressors wearing down your system over time.

Who is at Risk of developing Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue can affect anyone, man/woman, old/young- the only leading contributor is an overwhelming amount of stress upon the body and mind. Any major injury, life crisis or extended bouts of low to medium stressors can wear down the adrenal glands from being in a constant state of “survival” and cause adrenal fatigue.

While sustained and marked stress on the body is the root cause of adrenal fatigue, it is not uncommon for some lifestyle factors to contribute and increase your risk of adrenal fatigue. These include drug/substance abuse, polypharmacy or the need for multiple prescriptions, prescriptions with multiple and enhanced side effects, poor diet, impaired sleep hygiene and quality, limited relaxation/decompression, chronic illness, and extended exposure to emotional and physical stressors.

Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms

The most commonly seen indicators and signs of adrenal fatigue are seen as the inability to recover and feel rested, no matter how much sleep one gets. The inability to tolerate previously “typical” stress levels is common due to your diminished status and “heightened” state of perceived survival needs. Poor healing and prolonged time required to bounce back from an illness, injury, or overwhelming situation.

Due to being in “survival” mode constantly, it is not unusual to feel heightened and on “alert” often in the evening time due to the nature of the functionality of the adrenal glands. An increase in sweet tooth and salty food cravings is typical while requiring increased levels of caffeine to make it through the day is common.

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