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Our ability to cope with stress depends largely on the complex interactions between components of our hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis).
Adrenal glands play a huge role in stress response. Your brain registers a threat — whether it’s emotional, mental or physical. The adrenal medulla releases adrenaline hormones to help you react to the threat (the fight-or-flight response), rushing blood to your brain, heart and muscles. The adrenal cortex then releases corticosteroids to dampen processes like digestion, immune system response and other functions not necessary for immediate survival.
The onset of adrenal fatigue is due to the disregulation of the production of cortisol (too much too often) whereby your adrenal glands become overloaded and ineffective as a result. Adrenal fatigue is misdiagnosed and not often medically recognized, sometime the symptoms can mimic the precursors to other common illnesses and diseases.
Adrenal fatigue arises from stressful situations that are cumulative over time, rather than from stresses that are successfully dealt with and balance restored. As recovery and repair are inhibited, an individual may experience damage to various tissues and organs due to hormone and neurotransmitter disregulation, often leading to burnout. One of the best ways to discover if yourself or someone you know has adrenal fatigue is to get them to complete Dr Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue quiz online.
Are you feeling constantly exhausted, craving salt or salty foods, has your sex drive decreased, how about brain function – do you feel like your cognitively impaired, do you have difficulty getting up in the morning, are you feeling mildly depressed and have a history of constant stress?
Do any of these symptoms fit:
– Morning fatigue or trouble waking up
– Decreased libido
– Muscle weakness
– Poor focus
– Bone loss
– Increased allergies
– Difficulty sleeping
– Cravings for sugar
– Hair loss
– Weight gain
– Muscle tension or aches
Often the immune system has been compromised, to begin with increased colds, flu and infections due to higher cortisol and later with the appearance of chronic inflammatory conditions as cortisol levels drops due to exhaustion of the adrenal cortex. Cortisol resistance may have also set in, characterised by the immune system running out of control.
Some Natural Treatment Options:
If you are suffering from anxiety/panic attacks/depression then you should look for nutrition supplementation with magnesium, B vitamins and zinc. Mood support herbs from a qualified practitioner may also be useful and you may even need to look at restoring a healthy gut through probiotics.
Other lifestyle changes to look at include an improved diet with avoidance of stimulants (caffeine, alcohol) and sugar. Try mindfulness activities such as meditation and breathing practices, yoga, adequate hydration, positive self-talk and a conscious enjoyment of the funny side of life are also helpful. Exercise should be undertaken moderately and not to the point of fatigue.
To find out more contact your local practitioner, pharmacist or contact 0800 451 285.
AdrenalFatigue.org 2016. www.adrenalfatigue.org
Wilson JL. Dr Wilson’s adrenal fatigue questionnaire. Adrenalfatigue.org 2016. http://www.adrenalfatigue.org/take-the-adrenal-fatigue-quiz
Lam M. Adrenal fatigue versus hypothyroidism – Part 1. DrLam 2016. http://www.drlam.com/blog/adarenal-fatigue-verses-hypothyroidism-part-1/…
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