Recognising And Treating Adrenal Exhaustion
Adrenal exhaustion or fatigue is estimated to affect upwards of 80 percent of the world’s population at any given time, yet most sufferers don’t even realise that this is the cause of the symptoms they’re experiencing.
Our adrenal glands, which are part of our endocrine system, are located just above our kidneys. Although they’re only about the size of your thumb, they produce over 50 hormones that are responsible for driving almost every one of our bodily functions – many of which are essential for life.
Adrenal exhaustion is a decrease in the ability of the adrenal glands to carry out this vital function, and the resulting symptoms are as varied as they are numerous. They can include: weight gain (especially around the waist), trembling or shaking when under pressure, a craving for fatty or salty foods, lightheadedness when you first get up in the morning, chronic fatigue, over-reliance on caffeine and other stimulants, lack of energy in the afternoon, and chronic, unspecific pain, among others.
When experienced individually, these symptoms are not necessarily indicative of adrenal fatigue, but when experienced together by an otherwise healthy person, should definitely be examined more closely.
What Causes Adrenal Fatigue?
One of the most common causes of adrenal fatigue is chronic stress – either physical, emotional or mental – which, over time, exceeds the body’s capability to adjust to the effects of this stress. Factors that can contribute towards a state of chronic stress include depression, anger, sleep deprivation, chronic illness, a high-sugar diet and root canal repair.
Although adrenal fatigue is a common and debilitating condition, it is sadly not widely recognised as a distinct syndrome, and is often overlooked by many conventionally-trained doctors as a result. This is hugely problematic as, left undiagnosed and untreated, sufferers could eventually find it impossible to get out of bed for more than a few hours every day. Eventually, every organ and system in your body will be affected in some way by the condition. Your heart and cardiovascular system, fluid and electrolyte balance, sex drive and the way in which you metabolise proteins, fats and carbohydrates can all be severely compromised.
How Is It Treated?
Changes in diet are a huge factor towards helping you recover from adrenal fatigue, as avoiding foods that place your adrenals under pressure is critical. These include: caffeine, sugars and sweeteners, hydrogenated oils and processed or microwaved food. Instead, try incorporating more of these into your diet: coconut, avocado, olives, brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts), chicken and turkey, fatty fish, nuts, seeds and seaweed.
Reducing stress is also critical to aiding in your recovery from this condition. Get enough sleep, eat regularly, take regular, moderate exercise, avoid negative self-talk, make time for yourself and relax.
Dr Alain Sanua is a qualified medical doctor who is passionate about practicing integrated medicine. He has a special interest in treating persistent conditions, including adrenal exhaustion or fatigue. Contact him today if you’re worried that you might be suffering from this debilitating condition.