Do you feel tired, suffer from lack of sleep, have joint pain or muscle stiffness, frequently catch the flu or colds, feel anxious and depressed, have headaches or gastrointestinal disturbances, difficulty concentrating or remembering or experience allergies? Do you have difficulty getting up in the morning, more fatigue from 3:00-5:00 PM, and get a second wind in the evening? Do you or others see you as "not your old self"?
My patients tell me they have seen a physician, all the tests were "normal," but they knew they didn't feel well. If this is the case for you, you may have adrenal fatigue. What is it, how do you diagnose it and what are the solutions?
Adrenal Fatigue affects an estimated 80% of people, yet it has been ignored and largely untreated by the medical community. Women's health is extremely impacted today by adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue has a broad spectrum of non-specific yet often debilitating symptoms. The patient is physically run down and emotionally spent. The onset of this disease is often slow and insidious. Patients are told that they are stressed and need to learn to relax more, but there is more to the story. Today, adrenal fatigue can be accurately diagnosed and overcome by specific natural approaches. You are not alone. According to a study from the American Psychological Association in 2007:
- 33% of Americans feel they are living with extreme stress.
- 75% say that money and work are the leading causes of stress.
- 48% feel that their stress has increased over the past five years.
Once your brain senses some kind of stress, your heart begins to race, you become hyper vigilant, and mentally alert. Your body's central nervous system has switched to fight or flight mode. The adrenal glands (which are about the size of a grape and sit on top of your kidneys) pump out adrenaline, cortisol, and other hormones that affect your heart, lungs, circulation, metabolism and immune system. Heart rate and blood pressure increase, bringing more blood to your muscles and brain (to help you make split second decisions). Blood sugar rises to increase fuel for energy, and the blood clotting ability also increases to survive injuries. This is an important emergency function of the body, to be used sparingly. When the adrenal glands activate hormones to meet a stress response daily or weekly, the adrenals become depleted and your health is at risk.
Women wonder why they don't recover as quickly as they used to. Their body becomes adapted to the stress in their lives and they are not as able to bounce back. The most common causes of stress are work pressure, finances, the death of a love one, moving homes, changing jobs, illness, marital disruptions and concerns about children. Prolonged periods of high stress, imbalanced lifestyle (lack of sleep, too little exercise and poor nutrition), and frequent physical exhaustion stress the adrenals. Adrenal fatigue occurs when the amount of stress overextends the capacity of the body to compensate and recover from stress.
Han Selye, MD, first described the general adaptation syndrome in the 1930s. There are currently four stages of adrenal fatigue.
Stage One: Adrenal Stress
At this time, you may feel tired, wired and anxious, or both. You may have trouble falling asleep, have a depressed immune system, experience headaches, aches and pains, and gastrointestinal symptoms. Keep reading...
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