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Adrenal Glands 101 - Are Yours Working Correctly?

Adrenal Fatigue, also known as adrenal stress or burnout, is said to affect millions of people and yet, it is still not considered a conventional medical illness among traditional medical doctors. Symptoms of adrenal fatigue cannot exactly be explained by general practitioners, since there is no scientific evidence supporting the concept.

Most people will experience some level of adrenal fatigue at least once in their lifetime – mainly due to an illness, a personal crisis which causes a lot of stress, or even from a toxic liver which in turn affects the hormones and adrenal glands as well.

What are the adrenal glands?
On top of each kidney there is an adrenal gland, about the size of a large grape. They produce hormones that regulate blood pressure, how our body uses food, blood-levels of minerals, such as potassium and sodium, functions involved in stress reactions, and heart beat. Adrenal glands are small, triangular-shaped endocrine glands located at the top of each kidney
Definition of adrenal fatigue
Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands become tired and do not function properly – inadequate quantities of hormones are produced.

According to AdrenalFatigue.org, adrenal fatigue is a syndrome – a collection of signs and symptoms – which occurs when the adrenal glands do not work properly, they function below the necessary level. In most cases, they say, it is linked to intense or long-term stress. It can also occur during or after long-term infections, such as a severe virus or flu bug. Many patients with some signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue may seem apparently healthy, and will cope with everyday activities like they are fine. However, they experience a general sense of exhaustion; a feeling of being worn out during the day, waking in the middle of the night feeling tired but wired and getting very tired by 3:00 p.m. Other forms of adrenal dysfunction, such as Addison’s Disease or adrenal insufficiency are recognized though in the traditional medicine community and is more difficult to treat.

There is a large industry of dietary supplements aimed at people with adrenal fatigue. You can contact me or a naturopathic practitioner to advise on what to use.

What are the signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue?

Below are some symptoms related to adrenal fatigue, they are documented in alternative medicine literature and health books:
• General overall tiredness.
• Salty and sweet cravings.
• Needing stimulants or high doses of caffeine in coffee or colas.
• Low blood pressure.
• Loss of body hair.
• Having difficulties in recuperating from illnesses.
• General body aches.
• Feeling with sever decreased energy late in the afternoons.
• Feeling like you did not sleep much when you wake up, even if you really did sleep through the night.
• Dizziness
• Dark skin (Addison’s disease only)
• Bluish-black discoloration around the nipples, mouth, rectum, scrotum, or vagina (Addison’s disease only)
• Weight loss
• Dehydration
• Lack of appetite
• Muscle aches
• Nausea
• Low blood pressure
• Low sugar levels (hypoglycemia)
• In women, irregular or absent menstrual periods
What are the treatment options?
• Alternative health practitioners say that in some cases the adrenal gland malfunction may become chronic, mainly because of prolonged stressful events, and poor health. They stress that with proper adrenal support and some lifestyle modifications, patients can be treated effectively.
• Lifestyle modifications include eating healthfully using no artificial sweeteners, colorings or preservatives; acquiring a regular sleep-wake cycle, getting at least 7 to 8 hours proper sleep each night, and avoiding stressful situations as much as possible.
• Using relaxing modalities to get your emotions under control is important too. These would be things like deep relaxed breathing techniques and relaxing visualization techniques.
• There are also natural/herbal remedies to help put you in a deeper fuller sleep cycle which will help for that late afternoon fatigue feeling.
• Drinking alot of water is also helpful: l/2 of your body weight in water per day. So if you weigh 150 pounds-then that is 75 oz. divided by 8oz. glass=9 glasses minimum/daily.
• Taking supportive supplements which are found in the health food store listed as Adrenal Support. I have some good adrenal support products that I recommend.

In closing, you should get your hormones checked if you are a woman, once per year which would include: estrogen, progesterone, pregnolelone, testosterone and thyroid. All these hormones if out of balance can also upset the adrenals.