What is adrenal fatigue?
The condition Adrenal fatigue often described as a syndrome. Syndromes are collections of symptoms and signs that are characteristic of a single condition. In the case of adrenal fatigue some of these symptoms include:
- persistant fatigue and weakness
- body aches
- craving high salt or sugar foods
- low sex drive
- autoimmune issues or a suppressed immune system
- trouble waking after a full night’s sleep
- increased allergies
The Adrenal glads produce regulatory hormones like cortisol and epinephrine which activate the body’s physical response to stress. Adrenal fatigue is caused by the adrenal glad’s inability to properly respond to stress and return the body to homeostasis.
This malfunction of the adrenal glands is believed to be caused by consistently high levels of stress. The stress that causes adrenal fatigue could be caused by emotional stress, like the death of a loved one, or environmental stresses like a poor diet or chronic infection.
Is adrenal fatigue real?
The National Institute of Health and other mainstream medical institutions do not recognize adrenal fatigue as medical condition. There are no medical test that can detect adrenal fatigue and it is often diagnosed on symptoms alone.
Some physicians fear that patients who are being diagnosed with adrenal fatigue could actually have a recognized medical condition that needs treatment. Most of the symptoms linked to adrenal fatigue are also associated with a wide variety of disorders. The medical community feels that patients experiencing the symptoms of adrenal fatigue should be tested for other medically recognized conditions like Addison’s disease.
Nontraditional medicine practitioners are more likely to suggest a diagnosis of Adrenal disease. Often times they will treat the syndrome with lifestyle changes and supplements. This concerns some medical doctors because the patient may have received the wrong diagnosis and could need treatment for a much more serious condition. Furthermore the supplements used to treat adrenal fatigue may actually be harmful.
What should I do if I think I have adrenal fatigue?
Even though adrenal fatigue is not a recognized medical condition, it does not mean your symptoms are not real. If one or more of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue is disrupting your life see a medical doctor. He or she will be able to test you for a variety of recognized medical disorders. It is important that you rule out the possibility of a more serious condition.
In the event that you rule out traditional medical causes for your symptoms you should start exploring possible causes for your symptoms. Many of the alleged causes of the adrenal fatigue condition are related to lifestyle. A high stress lifestyle, sleep deprivation, emotional stress, a diet low in nutrients, lack of exercise, over exercising, and poor sleep hygiene are all suggested causes of adrenal fatigue.
If you can find any of these causes in your current lifestyle seek to remedy them through lifestyle changes. Some strategies for this could include:
- Seeing a qualified therapist about emotional distress.
- Reducing your work hours.
- Improving your diet, you could consult a registered dietician.
- Start exercising regularly.
- Go to bed and wake at the same time every day.
- If you are training for an athletic event you may need to increase your days off from training.
Adrenal fatigue may not be a recognized medical condition but the lifestyle factors associated with this condition could certainly hinder your well being. If you are experiencing some of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue consult with a medical doctor and consider making changes to your lifestyle where it is needed.