You're so tired. You're worn out. But your test results are "normal."
Doctors claim they have done every test under the sun and diagnosed you as healthy. When you’ve reached the point where you know something is wrong, but no one seems to believe you, it’s time to see a holistic health expert. You could be suffering from adrenal fatigue. Sometimes, putting a name to your condition is part of the relief you need. Knowing that you can now do something about your symptoms is life-altering.
What is adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is a syndrome that occurs when the adrenal glands – small organs located above your kidneys – are overstimulated and do not work at a proper level. Typically, the condition is associated with periods of intense, chronic stress and can also follow an infection like the flu, pneumonia, or bronchitis.
Adrenal fatigue is the overworking of the adrenal glands, which is not to be confused with adrenal insufficiency, the adrenal glands’ inability to make enough hormones like cortisol. The biggest complication for sufferers of adrenal fatigue is that you may not show any physical signs of being unwell, but your body will feel taxed and wiped out. Even if you get more rest, the sleep doesn’t seem to make a dent in the exhaustion.
Causes of Adrenal Fatigue
If you have been under severe stress, your body’s immune system will respond – and not always in a good way. Divorce, a serious illness, death of a loved one – these are all traumatic and stressful experiences that can overtax the body. New parents face extreme stress, caregivers, and even college students.
The adrenal glands release the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline as part of a natural “fight or flight” response, increasing heart rate and blood pressure in the process. Eventually, high stress levels can cause your adrenal glands to burn out from overproduction of cortisol. As a result, adrenal fatigue sets in.
The body is an interconnected system, but it must be a well-maintained machine to work properly and help you feel healthy. Your adrenal glands are responsible for balancing hormones, and when these are out of whack it can affect mental health, libido, the ability to conceive, and contribute to problems like diabetes and digestive disorders.
Adrenal fatigue in disguise
The symptoms of adrenal fatigue can mimic other conditions. Your doctor may attempt to see if you qualify for a diagnosis of hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia, sleep apnea, depression, or other afflictions, since lack of energy, exhaustion, weight gain, and sleeping all day can all be symptoms of these conditions. If there is no concrete evidence for any of these diagnoses, however, you are often left with the reality that you feel tired for no good reason. You don’t have to settle for that kind of bleak future.
Stress is more than just stress.
When we hear the word stress, we generally think about typical daily sources of stress: not enough hours in the day, job deadlines, the stress of parenting, relationship challenges, financial strains, or depression and anxiety.
Those are all sources of mental stress. But there are 2 more types of stress: biochemical and structural.
Structural stress is when a body part isn’t aligned quite as it should be. This could be genetic, developmental, or from an illness or injury. Examples include things like spinal misalignment after a car accident or internal organs that are stuck to one another due to endometriosis.
Biochemical stress is a bit more complicated and its sources are practically everywhere…
- Processed foods
- Eating foods you have a sensitivity or allergy to
- A build-up of toxic heavy metals
- Beauty & hygiene products containing chemicals
- Household toxins: cleaning products, detergents, plastics
- Too much or too little exercise
- Poor quality or quantity of sleep
- Blood sugar imbalance
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Noise pollution
- Persistent pain
All 3 types of stress – mental, structural, and biochemical – cause your adrenal glands to produce the stress hormone cortisol. It’s an adaptive mechanism as a response to perceived danger. Cortisol is there to give you that superhuman strength and endurance you need to save yourself if you’re ever in a life-threatening situation.
But it’s meant to be a short-term state and, unfortunately, our modern lives generally result in ongoing stress for extended periods of time, sometimes even decades.
Our adrenal glands can support us for a long time despite the daily onslaught of stressors, but the production of cortisol demands a lot of nutrient resources. Your body accommodates this by diverting resources away from the areas of the body that are less critical in moments of danger, such as your immune system, digestive system, and reproductive organs. But if there are too many sources of stress, or the stress goes on too long, the body begins to run out of resources altogether… and we end up with adrenal fatigue.
If we strategically remove stress and give the body the exact resources it needs, it can replenish and restore the function that was lost when resources were too low. It can physically heal parts that have been damaged.
It doesn't have to be that way.
Conquer adrenal fatigue with holistic health support.
Supporting the adrenal glands is sometimes key to restoring wellness in numerous other areas of the body.
The body must be given the chance to recuperate from mental, emotional, or physical stress. Lifestyle choices can make all the difference in your well-being and in overcoming adrenal fatigue, especially in times of great emotional trauma.
When you are in the throes of dark times in your life, it is hard to take care of yourself. You may need more sleep, but you don’t prioritize it. You may need better food, but you resort to fast, simple, unhealthy choices. You may need exercise, but you don’t make time for it.
Diet and lifestyle adjustments are legitimate medicine – and the holistic health experts at Ann Arbor Holistic Health are fully aware of how our daily choices affect the way our body performs. A diagnosis of adrenal fatigue can be combatted with a customized treatment plan that includes a diet low in sugar, caffeine, and junk food, supplementation with vitamins, and minerals, and a realistic exercise program – all intended to bring you to your best health.