Adrenal fatigue can happen to almost anyone during a particularly stressful period of life. This condition manifests with various difficult symptoms that can greatly affect one’s quality of life.
Numerous tests can be done by a trained professional in order to assess if the patient is suffering from this condition. Thankfully, there are different treatment options that can be taken in order to get relief from the symptoms and get back an optimal quality of life.
Signs and Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
The condition’s symptoms include abnormal fatigue, craving salty or sweet foods, digestive issues, trouble sleeping or waking up and unexplained weight loss when the adrenal gland is functioning below the necessary level. It is typically associated with bouts of extreme stress and can also follow chronic infections such as bronchitis, flu or pneumonia.
Researchers theorize that when someone is under stress for long, the adrenal glands constantly produce hormones associated with stress—cortisol and adrenaline. Since these hormones are associated with the body’s “fight or flight” response, they increase blood pressure and heart rate. Long-term bouts of stress can cause the adrenal glands to be overused, resulting in burnout and thus causing fatigue.
This syndrome can dramatically affect daily life. It can cause changes in your metabolism, fluid balance, sex drive and cardiovascular system. The level of fatigue can be so damaging that some who suffer from this condition may only be able to get out of bed for a few hours a day. Evidence shows that those who are very old and very young are most susceptible to getting this condition because of the high levels of stress these two groups typically experience.
Ways It Can Be Tested
There are various methods to test for this condition. Since there is no medical diagnosis for the condition yet, sometimes the tests are not straightforward. Evidence has been found that the level of cortisol in the saliva, increases in blood pressure levels, and increased heart rates have all been associated with this condition, and that they can be tested. Since cortisol levels tend to fluctuate throughout our lives based on the time of day, practitioners can also test thyroid hormones.
Who is At Risk
Populations that are at an increased risk of adrenal fatigue include new parents, people who have experienced a traumatic death of a loved one, those experiencing financial hardships over a prolonged period, people who recently had surgery, people exposed to toxic environments, and even those who are in high stress caretaker jobs, such as nurses. The good news is that this condition can be treated in various ways.
Diet is one important way to treat this condition. Evidence shows that there are different foods that tax the adrenal glands and should be avoided: caffeine, artificial sweeteners, regular sugars, carbohydrates, microwaved or other types of processed food, and hydrogenated oils. Foods that are beneficial include coconuts, avocados, foods with healthy fats, fermented foods because of the beneficial probiotics, free-range chicken and turkey, seeds and nuts and fatty types of fish.
Treatment also includes taking various types of supplements and herbs. Beneficial supplements include magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin D, selenium, fish oil, and B-complex vitamins. Herb oils that show benefits include lavender, rosemary, and licorice root.
Reducing stress and creating positive habits are tantamount to treating this condition. Habits that reduce stress can be sleeping between eight and ten hours a night, resting whenever necessary, minimizing work, avoiding staying up late in order to create a normal sleeping schedule and seeking counseling in order to cope with any traumatic experiences in life. Depending on the severity, it can take anywhere from 6 to 24 months to overcome this condition.
Keep in Mind
It is important to seek tests in order to assess if you are suffering from this condition as soon as possible so that the condition is easier to treat. Making positive lifestyle changes immediately will help reduce the severity and you can get your optimal quality of life sooner.