In my clinical practice, I encounter a variety of health concerns. Hands down, the one thing that I see the most is the harmful effects of stress on people’s bodies. The following blog post covers a description of Adrenal Fatigue/Exhaustion or subclinical HPA (Hypothalamus, Pituitary, Adrenal) axis dysfunction which is one result of continued stress in our lives.
The stresses of everyday life and demands of our busy schedules can take a toll on our body. The adrenal glands are in charge of the production of various stress hormones and can become exhausted during extended periods of stress. ‘Adrenal fatigue’ is when the adrenals are unable to do their job properly. Adrenal fatigue can result in chronic fatigue, pain, inflammation and brain fog. Stress can present in our lives in the form of mental/emotional struggles, chronic injuries and dysglycemia.
Adrenal dysfunction presents itself in many forms and results from continued stress in our lives. Stress can be emotional, psychological or physical. Inflammation, infections, dysglycemia are some forms of physical stress on our bodies. A poor diet or lack of exercise, long term use of medications and overuse of stimulants (caffeine) can all play a part on promoting stress on our bodies. When stress is chronic, it does not give our body or the adrenal glands a chance to recover.
Cortisol is one of the hormones produced by the adrenal glands, it is released in a 24 hour rhythm. Low levels of cortisol can result in fatigue and high levels can lead to a person feeling wired.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue include:
– Food cravings
– Weight changes
– Energy: Fatigue or Feeling ‘wired’
– Inability to deal with stress – emotional instability
– Feeling overwhelmed
– Mental fogginess
– Frequent infections
– Low libido
Listening to our bodies and the symptoms that present can help us be in better control of our health. Symptoms are the body’s way of reaching out for help. Left untreated adrenal imbalance can play a role in contributing to: arthritis, chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, IBS, and hypothyroidism.
Naturopathic Doctors approach adrenal fatigue in a unique manner, we test adrenal dysfunction through a salivary cortisol test. This test is the most effective way to assess adrenal function and can help guide treatment in the most tailored fashion.
A comprehensive adrenal restorative plan includes:
– Stress management – vital to the success of any treatment, proper sleep hygiene along with meditation and exercise.
– Blood sugar support
– Glandular Adrenal support
– Herbal Support – such as Rhodiola, Ginseng, Ashwagandha, Eleutherococcus, Echinacea
– Nutrient Support – Vitamin C, Vitamin E, B Vitamins, Zinc
Dr. Jaspreet Mundeir, ND is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor practicing in the East Bay Area. She is the owner of East Bay Natural Medicine where she focuses on helping patients achieve their optimal health state using homeopathy, hydrotherapy, nutritional supplements, botanical medicine and bio-identical hormones.
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