Greetings friends. Today I am talking to you about Hypoadrenia or Adrenal Fatigue. This is a common condition I am seeing more and more of from clients. Often people are coming to see me after going through the rounds with conventional medicine looking for a reason why they are so tired, so lethargic, depressed, can’t sleep, are anxious and always getting sick. Many people are unaware that tis condition even exists as many mainstream medical doctors refuse to acknowledge it’s existence. So if you have been suffering from some or all of the symptoms I have just mentioned and the usual tests aren’t showing any reason for it then you may have this condition and if so, understanding it and knowing what to do is going to be most helpful.
What is Adrenal Fatigue (Hypoadrenia)?
Adrenal fatigue is a collection of signs and symptoms, known as a syndrome, that results when the adrenal glands function below the necessary level. In most cases this is commonly associated with intense or prolonged stress; emotional or physical, it can also arise during or after acute or chronic infections, especially respiratory infections such as influenza, bronchitis or pneumonia. As the name suggests, its main symptom is fatigue that is not relieved by sleep but it is not a readily identifiable entity like measles or a growth on the end of your finger. You may look and act relatively normal with adrenal fatigue and may not have any obvious signs of physical illness, yet you live with a general sense of unwellness, tiredness or “gray” feelings. People experiencing adrenal fatigue are often prone to using coffee, colas and other stimulants to get going in the morning and to prop themselves up during the day.
This syndrome has been known by many other names throughout the past century, such as non-Addison’s hypoadrenia, sub-clinical hypoadrenia, neurasthenia, adrenal neurasthenia, adrenal apathy and adrenal fatigue. Although it affects millions of people in the Australia and around the world, conventional medicine does not yet recognize it as a distinct syndrome. Adrenal fatigue can wreak havoc with your life. In the more serious cases, the activity of the adrenal glands is so diminished that you may have difficulty getting out of bed for more than a few hours per day. With each increment of reduction in adrenal function, every organ and system in your body is more profoundly affected. Changes occur in your carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism, fluid and electrolyte balance, heart and cardiovascular system, and even sex drive. Many other alterations take place at the biochemical and cellular levels in response to and to compensate for the decrease in adrenal hormones that occurs with adrenal fatigue. Your body does its best to make up for under-functioning adrenal glands, but it does so at a price.
What causes adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue occurs when your adrenal glands cannot adequately meet the demands of stress. The adrenal glands mobilize your body’s responses to every kind of stress (whether it’s physical, emotional, or psychological) through hormones that regulate energy production and storage, immune function, heart rate, muscle tone, and other processes that enable you to cope with the stress. Whether you have an emotional crisis such as the death of a loved one, a physical crisis such as major surgery, or any type of severe repeated or constant stress in your life, your adrenals have to respond to the stress and maintain homeostasis. If their response is inadequate, you are likely to experience some degree of adrenal fatigue. During adrenal fatigue your adrenal glands function, but not well enough to maintain optimal homeostasis because their output of regulatory hormones has been diminished – usually by over-stimulation. Over-stimulation of your adrenals can be caused either by a very intense single stress, or by chronic or repeated stresses that have a cumulative effect.
Signs and Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
When your adrenal glands become depleted, it leads to a decrease in certain hormone levels, particularly cortisol. The deficiencies in certain adrenal hormones will vary with each case, ranging from mild to severe. In its most extreme form, this is referred to as Addison’s disease, a condition that causes muscle weakness, weight loss, low blood pressure and low blood sugar, and can be life threatening. Fortunately though, only about four persons per 100,000 develop Addison’s disease, which is due to autoimmune disease in most cases but can also develop after very severe stress.
At the other end of the spectrum, as well as in between, lies adrenal fatigue (also known as hypoadrenia). Though the symptoms are less severe than in Addison’s disease, symptoms of adrenal fatigue can be debilitating. As James Wilson in his book Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome writes: “Non-Addison’s hypoadrenia (adrenal fatigue) is not usually severe enough to be featured on TV or to be considered a medical emergency. In fact, modern medicine does not even recognize it as a distinct syndrome. Nevertheless, it can wreak havoc with your life. In the more serious cases of adrenal fatigue, the activity of the adrenal glands is so diminished that the person may have difficulty getting out of bed for more than a few hours per day. With each increment of reduction in adrenal function, every organ and system in your body is more profoundly affected.”
Classic signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:
- Fatigue and weakness, especially in the morning and afternoon
- A suppressed immune system
- Increased allergies
- Muscle and bone loss and muscular weakness
- Cravings for foods high in salt, sugar or fat
- Hormonal imbalance
- Skin problems
- Autoimmune disorders
- Increased PMS or menopausal symptoms
- Low sex drive
- Light-headedness when getting up from sitting or lying down
- Decreased ability to handle stress
- Trouble waking up in the morning, despite a full night’s sleep
- Poor memory
How To Find Out if You Have Adrenal Fatigue?
Adding to the problem of misdiagnosis is the fact that doctors typically use an ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) test to check for problems with your adrenal glands. However, the test only recognizes extreme underproduction or overproduction of hormone levels, as shown by the top and bottom 2 percent of a bell curve. Symptoms of adrenal malfunction, meanwhile, occur after 15 percent of the mean on both sides of the curve. So your adrenal glands could be functioning 20 percent below the mean, and your body experiencing symptoms of adrenal fatigue, and the standard test won’t recognize it.
I personally use HTMA to analyse the whole picture of all mineral balances in the body. This typically will show your metabolic typing and allows for me to see clearly if you are leaning toward having Hypoadrenia or Adrenal Fatigue. I also use the NESHealth scan to look even deeper as to why this is occuring with you. Another method is to use a Salivary Cortisol Test which is a simple and effective method to detect this condition which I will use as a secondary or tertiary method for more conclusive results if needed.
Therapy For Adrenal Fatigue
Natural health care has many effective therapy options for this condition but generally speaking it involves rebalancing the mineral and nutrient balances in the body along with harmonising the energetics of the body. A simplified eating plan that is tailored to your condition is also a fundamental aspect of therapy. Resting and stress reduction methods such as meditation, massage therapy and yoga also all play a vital role in recovery and prevention of this condition. Because each person is different, the methods used will differ slightly so it is best to see your natural health care professional to be properly helped.
I have helped many clients with this condition and I can honestly say they all made positive improvements. If you feel that you may be suffering from this condition please get in touch with me to make an appointment to get some help or alternatively, contact a natural health professional near you.
Until next time friends, be well, naturally.
Craig Hitchens – Natural Health Practitioner
My own clinical experience.
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