Take the quiz below to find out if adrenal fatigue is the cause!
Fatigue is one of the most common complaints in a family medicine office! While there can be many underlying causes, in our fast paced society, "adrenal fatigue" comes up often!
The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys. They are in charge of producing our stress response hormone: Cortisol.
Selye's stress adaptation response describes what happens when we undergo stress:
1. Alarm Stage: Our mind and body sense a stress, and we enter into a fight or flight adaptation to deal with the stressor.
2. Resistance Stage: If the stressor continues, as often happens, our nervous system returns to normal function so we do not experience acute stress like before. However, our cortisol and adrenalin continue to release at higher than normal levels, our blood sugar levels increase along with our heart rate and blood pressure.
3. Exhaustion Stage: Our bodies can only keep up the resistance reaction for so long, and eventually, we become less able to respond to stress and release our fight/flight hormones like we did before. This, in part, is a protective mechanism, but not being able to respond to things we should comes with consequences.
Someone who is tired and stressed may be in any one of these stages, but people often seek help when they are in the end of the the resistance stage or have entered the exhaustion stage.
They're often depleted, fatigued, their sleep doesn't refresh them, they become indifferent to things they used to care about, and they simply don't have the physical or mental energy to do much beyond the absolutely necessary.
While there may be other factors involved (low thyroid function, anemia, physical diseases/conditions, depression/anxiety) to be investigated by a doctor, here is a quick quiz to see whether your lack of energy could be due to Adrenal Fatigue, also known as hypocortisolism.
Do you have adrenal fatigue? Simply answer yes or no to the following questions:
Tally up your answers and if you answered yes to:
You may be experiencing the beginning aspects of adrenal fatigue. If you are still able to function despite being tired, it may mean that you are otherwise healthy and that your stress response is still working.
However, the fact that your energy is low and you answered yes to a few of these questions means that you need to make sure:
You may be adrenal fatigued, or on the tail end of the resistance stage. You don't have all of the symptoms that a very depleted person might, but your symptoms are likely interfering with your function, and your enjoyment in life.
There can be overlap with other diseases and conditions such as hypothyroidism, depression, diabetes, and menopause to name a few. Always get a full work-up!
You are likely adrenal fatigued. You are experiencing symptoms in most realms that the adrenal glands affect which include: energy production and carbohydrate metabolism, immune function, fat storage, electrolyte balance.
The good news is that through self care, proper nutrition, herbal and vitamin support, and lifestyle changes you can recover from adrenal fatigue and return to a healthy stress response. The bad news is that this takes time, effort, and commitment.
There is not a quick fix for adrenal fatigue, and this is actually a good thing. It means that by making long lasting changes, not only will you recover from adrenal fatigue and improve your energy, but you'll protect your health long term, improve stress resiliency, and prevent future burn out.
Top Recommendations for Adrenal Fatigue:
1. Regular sleep schedule: Ideally asleep by 10:00 pm nightly, and awake by 7:00 am each morning
2. Ensure you're eating good quality protein with each meal
3. Eliminate sugar and caffeine as much as possible
4. B Complex, Vitamin C, and Magnesium are all great vitamins to support adrenal function
5. Herbal teas like ashwagandha, rhodiola, schizsandra and avena sativa all support a healthy stress response
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