Chronic Fatigue Conditions Cause Adrenal

Adrenal fatigue is a condition in which chronic fatigue symptoms supposedly occur due to overworked adrenal glands. While traditional Western medicine doesn’t widely accept adrenal fatigue as a legitimate medical diagnosis, many alternative medical practitioners claim that adrenal fatigue can occur as a result of stress.

Proponents of this diagnosis believe that excessive stress over an extended period of time affects hormone functioning and undermines the body’s ability to adapt and fight off disease.

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

Your adrenal glands are two small endocrine glands atop your kidneys. Adrenal glands regulate the levels of certain hormones in your body–particularly cortisol and epinephrine–that affect stress levels.

Some researchers believe that adrenal fatigue is characterized by hormone imbalance in the body. When the adrenal glands are repeatedly overworked, they believe, adrenaline and cortisone levels in the body become unbalanced. Insufficient supplies of essential hormones are produced, and the body loses its ability to recover from stressful situations. This results in adrenal fatigue symptoms, which include chronic physical fatigue.

Some researchers believe that adrenal fatigue is caused by an unhealthy lifestyle–overworking, poor diet and lack of sleep all allegedly contribute to the condition.

Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms

Symptoms of adrenal fatigue may include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Elevated blood sugar levels
  • Feelings of exhaustion, sadness and overwhelm
  • Poor immune function
  • Poor sleep.

If you find that you’re continually sick, or can’t muster up the energy to complete basic tasks during the day, alternative medical professionals may find that adrenal fatigue is to blame.

Adrenal fatigue isn’t widely recognized by the medical community as a legitimate diagnosis, however, and doctors don’t have a definitive test to determine whether your adrenal glands are “fatigued.”

If you’re experiencing a combination of the above symptoms, you may want to seek the advice of a traditional primary care physician before seeking a diagnosis of–or treatment for–adrenal fatigue. In some cases, these symptoms can be indicative of a serious medical condition, such as depression, diabetes, fibromyalgia or mitochondrial disease.

Adrenal Fatigue Treatment

Alternative medicine practitioners commonly support the idea that adrenal fatigue symptoms can be reversed through nutritional healing, supplementation and proper rest. Easy ways to support adrenal health include:

  • Avoid caffeine
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eat a diet rich in nutrients and avoid processed foods
  • Get enough rest (optimally, eight hours or more of sleep)
  • Get regular exercise
  • Take a daily multivitamin.

By modifying your lifestyle and taking any supplements your healthcare provider recommends, you may be able to reverse the symptoms you’re experiencing. If you continue to feel fatigued, consult a professional for additional testing.

Resources

French, R. (2009). Adrenal exhaustion. Natural Health and Vegetarian Life, 56. Retrieved September 10, 2010 from the EbscoHost database.

Head, K.A. and Kelly, G.S. (2009). Nutrients and botanicals for treatment of stress: Adrenal fatigue, neurotransmitter imbalance, anxiety, and restless sleep. Alternative Medicine Review, 14, 114-116. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19594222

Nippoldt, T. (2010). Is there such a thing as adrenal fatigue? Retrieved September 17, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/adrenal-fatigue/AN01583

Roberts, C. A. (2007). Adrenal fatigue: An American epidemic. Tampa Bay Wellness, 30. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from the EbscoHost database.