What is Adrenal Fatigue?

Do you constantly feel sluggish and tired? Is there a lack of energy or vitality in your life? Do you sometimes wonder “is this what old age feels like?” There’s a distinct possibility that you might have a condition known as Adrenal Fatigue.

The adrenal glands inside your body sit atop your kidneys like a cap on a soda bottle. These glands produce hormones such as cortisol, which your body uses to deal with stress. The Adrenal Fatigue theory suggests that if your life is too stressful, the adrenal glands shut down and stop pumping out beneficial hormones like cortisol. This in turn leads to you being extremely tired, lethargic and a lot of other related symptoms.

Some of the symptoms include difficulty in getting out of bed, chronic and extreme tiredness and difficulties thinking clearly or keeping a train of thought. Web MD suggests that adrenal fatigue is actually something called “Addison’s disease”. It is when the adrenal glands do not make enough hormones because they have been damaged by the immune system by other causes such as tuberculosis or lymphoma (a form of cancer).

The way doctors treated the symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue in the past was to tell the patient to “relax” and then prescribe them some anti-depressants, which as we all know can cause way more problems than they solve if prescribed improperly. Considering how deep “big pharma” is with the medical industry, it’s no wonder that the first go-to cure for people with Adrenal Fatigue were anti-depressants.

Typical causes of Adrenal fatigue can be stress from work, home or relationship problems. At some point the adrenal glands literally shut down and quit producing the hormones required. Most suffers resort to ingesting massive amounts of caffeinated and sugary drinks, which only make matters worse. They may feel a temporary boost in energy, but that boost will be followed by a massive crash in just a few hours.

Medical science does not recognize adrenal dysfunction until it turns into Addison’s disease. Doctors refuse to recognize that there are instances in which the adrenal gland is operating poorly. This is where Adrenal Fatigue comes into play. The adrenal glands have not shut down completely, they are only performing at a fraction of their ability.

The good news is that Adrenal Fatigue is treatable, to some extent. Provided that your Adrenal glands have not shut down completely, there are things you can do to improve the hormone producing abilities of your adrenal glands. There are varying degrees of remedies available, from popping a few pills to making healthy changes to your lifestyle.  There are also many people out there who successfully improved the ability of their adrenal glands to produce cortisol which helps deal with stress. The vast majority of these people took it upon themselves to make healthy changes in their lives and they were amazed at how much energy they had after just a few short months.

HPA Axis Dysfunction

The HPA Axis is the complex relationship that exists between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and the adrenal glands. A more in-depth explanation would serve to confuse the average person as it goes into a lot of complicated medical jargon. The basic gist is that the HPA Axis becomes dysfunctional when the relationship between the brain, pituitary and adrenal glands are disrupted. This is caused by the various chemical signals between the three being interrupted. This causes the adrenal glands to cease production of important hormones such as cortisol. The result being Adrenal Fatigue and you feeling lethargic, tired and depressed.

In a health person the hypothalamus part of the human brain sends a message to the pituitary gland which in turn sends a message to the adrenal glands. This is the how the body prepares for a “fight or flight” scenario (which is what stress in human beings is comprised of). In a matter of milliseconds, your body is now ready to deal with whatever stressful situation you’re undergoing.

The human body and the various parts that help it deal with stress were not made to deal with modern life. In this day and age the average human being who lives in  the city is being bombarded with messages, signals and situations and their body has to make sense of it all. The more stress we encounter, the more our adrenal glands are forced to work over time. Some peoples bodies cannot keep up with the stress and they simply shut down. This can lead to Adrenal Fatigue.

As you can see, there is a chain of events that lead up to Adrenal Fatigue. First you have short term stress which eventually evolves into long term stress. The adrenal glands are now forced to work overtime and eventually they cannot produce anymore of the beneficial hormone cortisol which is responsible for helping your body deal with stress. Short periods of stress are normal and natural and the human body has evolved to deal with them. But when you subject a person to repeated amounts of stress over an extended period of time, the body tends to shut down because it cannot cope with the increased and sustained stimuli. 

Low cortisol levels are the main reason why adrenal fatigue exists. When the cortisol has been depleted completely, it turns into Addison’s disease. But for the vast majority of people, they only suffer from lowered cortisol levels. This in turn causes lethargy, tiredness and mild depression.

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