Adrenal fatigue is a controversial subject in Western or traditional medicine. However, in alternative medicine circles, adrenal fatigue is recognized as a stress illness of the twenty-first century.
Your adrenal glands are located on top of your kidneys. They are responsible for secreting the hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) when you are under mental or physical stress. This can include stress in your body that occurs due to illnesses, such as respiratory infections. However, when your body is under prolonged stress or faces a life crisis, your adrenal glands work overtime. It is believed that they then “burn out,” and function at suboptimal levels.
Adrenal fatigue has a number of symptoms including, but not limited to, the following:
Constant exhaustion even after a full night of sleep
Difficulty waking and getting up in the morning, even though you went to sleep early enough
Increased energy after 6 p.m.
Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
Feelings of sadness and anxiety
Decreased interest in your friends, family, and hobbies – it just takes too much work!
Reduced ability to handle stressful situations
If you recognize any of the above symptoms, you could possibly have adrenal fatigue.
So what is the next step?
You should always consult with your medical physician, who can do the standard blood test and urinalysis. This is important just to ensure that you are not missing a life-threatening illness that may share some of the same symptoms as adrenal fatigue.
Do not be surprised if your laboratory tests come back “normal!”
Most standard lab tests don't detect abnormal adrenal functioning unless it is very severe. This does not mean that what you are experiencing is not real.
Next, find an alternative-health physician, such as a Naturopathic physician.
The naturopathic physician can direct you to more specific testing such as saliva hormone testing, which measures the cortisol hormone levels at various times of the day. This, in combination with other tests such as the iris contraction test and blood pressure readings, can confirm if you may be dealing with the effects of adrenal fatigue.
Tests confirm I have adrenal fatigue. Now what?
You are not going to get better overnight. Often, it has taken months or years for you to get to this point. You will need to be patient and diligent with a plan set up for you by your alternative-health physician. You are going to have to make lifestyle and diet changes, as well as include specific supplements that can restore the functioning of your adrenal glands.
In conclusion, adrenal fatigue is a controversial subject in traditional medicine as it is not picked up on standard laboratory tests. However, it is real for the many sufferers who cannot experience life the way they want to. Recognizing the symptoms is the first step to getting better.
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