Hypoadrenia more commonly manifests itself within a broad spectrum of less serious, yet often debilitating, disorders that are only too familiar to many people. This spectrum has been known by many names throughout the past century, such as non-Addison’s hypoadrenia, sub-clinical hypoadrenia, neurasthenia, adrenal apathy, and adrenal fatigue.
This syndrome is largely ignored by the general medical profession. As a result of this, it is unlikely that your physician will recognize adrenal fatigue, even after it is demonstrated as being the underlying problem.
Basically, do not waste your time trying to get sympathy or understanding from your doctor.
Every substance, medication, & supplement can be a nutrient or it can be a poison, depending upon the rate of administration, route of administration, and amount of administration.
Although fatigue is a universal symptom of low adrenal function, it is such a common complaint and occurs in so many other conditions, that today’s medical doctors rarely consider pursuing an adrenal-related diagnosis when someone complaints of fatigue. In fact, fifty years ago, physicians were far more likely than their modern counterparts to
correctly diagnose this ailment. Information about non-Addisons hypoadrenia had been documented in medical literature for over a hundred years but unfortunately, this milder form of hypoadrenia is missed or misdiagnosed in doctors’ offices every day, even though the patient clearly presents its classic symptoms. Adrenal fatigue is all too often the cause of patients’ run down felling and inability to keep up with life’s daily demands, and often remains undiagnosed.
Adrenal fatigue is a collection of signs and symptoms. Sometimes referred to as “Syndrome-X,” patients experience fatigue, and a general feeling of uneasiness and poor overall health. Often using coffee, sugar, colas and other stimulants, these persons have difficulty just getting out of bed. Often, patients report that they have not felt ‘well’ in years. They may have intervals of confusion, increased difficulties in concentrating. They are often intolerance to become easily frustrated. Insomnia is common.
As AF worsens, they experience frequent respiratory infections, allergies, rhinitis, asthma, and frequent sinus problems and colds. Adrenal fatigue is often misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia, chronic and fatigue syndrome. The development of AF often leads to adult-onset diabetes, auto-immune disorders, and drug-dependence.
Adrenal fatigue, not to be confused with adrenal failure, is an extremely common clinical entity. In all its mild and severe forms, adrenal fatigue (AF) is caused by some form of stress, whether that
stress is physical, emotional, psychological, environmental, infectious, or some combination.
Often the causes of adrenal fatigue are obvious. One of the more interesting misconceptions regarding adrenal fatigue is the notion that cortisol is the most important measure of adrenal damage. Cortisol is thought by many to be the principal ‘hormone of stress.’ In reality, however, it is only one of many measures, including DHEA, Pregnenolone, Testosterone, Progesterone the family of Estrogens. When the adrenals demonstrate fatigue, the problem most frequently involves more than one hormone ‘out of balance.’
Common sources of chronic stress resulting in adrenal fatigue is chronic or severe infection, chronic autoimmune disease states, and chronic gastrointestinal dysfunction. If there are other concurrent stresses, the development of adrenal fatigue is accelerated. Many people experience high levels of stress on a regular basis. This will put a chronic strain on the adrenal function.
The body normally secretes the highest amount of cortisol in the early morning hours. Inadequate cortisol levels will manifest first as low am cortisol levels. Blood assay should be performed between 0700 and 0800, and it is best to do this at the laboratory. If the blood assay is drawn in the doctor’s office, it may sit around for many hours before being processed. This leads to inaccurate readings.
Cortisol levels should taper off as the day goes on. Using serial saliva testing, abnormalities in normal diurnal cortisol values can result from subclinical adrenal dysfunction. Eventually, morning cortisols drop very significantly, demonstrating adrenal exhaustion. Adrenal fatigue can be caused by constant stress or poor nutrition, which can deplete and weaken the adrenal glands. In many patients with AF, thyroid problems are present and complicate the clinical picture. Adrenal Fatigue is a deficiency in the overall function of the adrenal glands.
Properly functioning adrenal glands secrete a balanced amount of steroid hormones. Physical stress, emotional stress, an environmental challenge can ‘stress’ the adrenals. Eventually, chronic stress puts such a load on the delicate glands that they are unable to produce sufficient hormone amounts. While levels cortisol drop, other hormone levels suffer, as well. The severity of dysfunction reflects the severity of stress, the duration of stress, genetic predisposition, and dietary habit.
Adrenal fatigue can range from minor to severe failure. Addison’s disease is the most severe form of adrenal fatigue. Named for the first physician to write and teach about it, Sir Thomas Addison described AF in 1855.
The most severe form is life-threatening if left untreated. As first described, adrenal failure was a result of chronic tubercular infection to the glands. The resulting structural damage to the adrenal glands led to prolonged illness and death. Other causes of profound adrenal failure include metastatic (and primary) neoplasm. This severe form of AF occurs in only about 4 persons per 100,000, general population.
Patients treated traditionally for Addison’s Disease are prescribed corticosteroids. It is expected that treatment will be life-long. The current belief is that 70% of cases of Addison’s disease are the result of auto-immune disease.
But stress can also take its toll in less obvious ways, like an abscessed tooth, a bout of the flu, intense physical exertion, a severe quarrel with a loved one, pressure at the workplace, an unhappy relationship, environmental toxins, poor diet, etc. If these smaller stresses occur simultaneously, accumulate or become chronic, and the adrenals have no opportunity to fully recover, adrenal fatigue may result. Often the causes of adrenal fatigue are so obvious because the face of combined stresses may present so differently. It is the summation or bundle of stresses, recognized or not, as
well as the intensity of each stress, the frequency plus the duration, all in the entirety that establishes stress load.
Causes of Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue, in all its mild and severe forms, is usually caused by some form of stress. Stress can be physical, emotional, psychological, environmental, infectious, or a combination of these. It is important to know that your adrenals respond to every kind of stress the same, whatever the source.
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