So Whats A Person To Do
Navigating this ocean of uncertainty is not an easy task. Symptoms associated with adrenal fatigue probably have multiple causes. Frequent follow-up visits and a strong patient-clinician partnership are critical elements for success. Alternative and complementary clinicians often have better results, because the appointments tend to last longer and they view patients through a more holistic lens. An important word of caution: some medical professionals prescribe cortisol analogs to treat adrenal fatigue. Cortisol replacement can be dangerous even in small doses. Unintended consequences can include osteoporosis, diabetes, weight gain, and heart disease.
Regardless of what we call it, there are millions of people suffering from similar symptoms, and a personalized plan that involves counseling, medications, supplements, lifestyle change, among others could work for many. Improvement following these programs is slow, and the evidence is weak, but I hope advances in big data, genomics, and its relationship with the environment and the microbiome, may shine a light on how to better help people who suffer from these ailments.
The adrenal fatigue theory may fit like a glove to explain your symptoms, which are very real. But before buying expensive protocols over the Internet to treat something were not even sure exists, take a deep dive and reexamine your lifestyle. The path to feeling better may be closer than you think.
About Adrenal Function Stress Adrenal Problems And Testing
The adrenal glans which are both located on top of your kidneys belong to the hormonal system or endocrine system. Adrenal fatigue is a very common condition in todays society through the physical and physiological demands we put on our adrenal glands. Each gland is composed of two distinct zones, the large outer cortex and the inner medulla.
The adrenal glans use two important hormones to help you control stress, these include DHEA and Cortisol which are used to maintain a healthy balance of stress response. Therefore the adrenal fatigue test is considered a stress test, this is because when a person experiences above average levels of stress the balances of these hormones can tell us if a person is in or at risk of fatigue or burn out. Understanding the true balances of these two hormones helps us to make educated decisions about how to restore good health and in many cases prevent more serious health problems.
In the case of adrenal fatigue or adrenal insufficiency, the adrenal glands run low of the balancing hormones and a loss of vital energy or burn out is experienced, often this condition cannot be resolved without first knowing the levels of DHEA and cortisol so that appropriate action can be taken to restore healthy function. This test can also be helpful in the discovery of other underlying health problems that may need attention.
Functional Medicine Adrenal Stress Profile
In my clinic, I use a saliva test from BioHealth Laboratory to measure stress hormone levels at four different points throughout the day, which provides a more complete picture. You can order your own adrenal profile from My Labs for Life and review your results with a diatitian to help you work on dietary, lifestyle, and supplement changes to support your adrenals.
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Are You Nodding Your Head Because This Sounds Familiar
Then read on I have good news! My husband and I recently took the kids on a much needed trip to the shore, and I managed to read up on adrenal fatigue and create a plan for my recovery. I was expecting to feel overwhelmed, but just the opposite happened. I discovered several simple things I can do to care for tired adrenals, which Ill be sharing with in future posts. But first, Ill bet youre wondering if your low energy levels could really be related to adrenal fatigue.
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A Simple Way To Test For Adrenal Fatigue At Home
Did you know that theres a quick and easy test you can do at home to determine adrenal fatigue?
As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, this is one of the tools I use to test adrenal function.
A quick disclaimer before we start: In order to properly diagnose any condition, please see a qualified medical practitioner .
This simple test can be done with a small flashlight that has a pinpoint focus or penlight, a mirror, darkened room, and your eyeballs.
How Does It Work?
When your adrenal glands are not functioning well, the eye muscles get fatigued and arent able to stay dilated. This is a common cause of night blindness and the need for sunglasses.
What If I Fail the Test?
This test is a good indicator to look into things further.
I will be writing a series on adrenal fatigue next month. If you would like to sign up for my newsletter in one of the pink boxes to the right or bottom of this post, I will send the posts right to your inbox!
Heres a great book that I recommend for more information and DIY treatment options: Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by James L. Wilson, ND, DC, PhD.
Instead of spending hours upon hours looking up information on the Internet, it covers the syndrome from soup to nuts.
Pupilary Response Test for Adrenal Fatigue
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What Is Adrenal Fatigue Steps To Overcome It Naturally
Did you know that chronic stress can affect your bodys ability to recuperate from physical, mental or emotional stress? This is likely why most people have dealt with adrenal fatigue at some point in their lives.
Many proponents of this condition estimate that almost every person can experience adrenal fatigue, also known as hypoadrenia, to some degree at a particularly stressful point in his or her life.
Because the adrenals influence many parts of the body, symptoms of adrenal fatigue can mimic a number of disorders and isnt always easily recognizable.
Adrenal fatigue symptoms, like brain fog, moodiness and trouble sleeping, can be indicative of many disorders and are often overlooked by doctors. But more and more people are starting to realize that a combination of these health issues often indicate the onset of adrenal fatigue.
If you have adrenal fatigue, it can have significant effects on your overall health. Luckily, you can improve this common issue naturally by focusing on your nutrient intake and lifestyle choices.
What Is The Treatment For Adrenal Fatigue
The treatment for adrenal fatigue is essentially lifestyle advice, including sleep, diet and exercise. Talk with your doctor to discuss how you are feeling so that your doctor can arrange tests if needed and also provide you with advice and support.
Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. Avoid junk foods and processed foods. Also avoid or reduce coffee and any other stimulant drinks and reduce your intake of sugary drinks and foods. See also the separate leaflet called Healthy Eating.
There is no evidence that supplements are of any value, and some supplements may be harmful.
Recommended Reading: What Is Chronic Fatigue A Sign Of
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Simplify The Testing Process With Our At
Do you often feel tired? Are you unable to make it through the day? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you should try Diagnose at Homes adrenal fatigue test. The test is designed to determine your cortisol levels.
Cortisol is a hormone that plays a role in the metabolism of proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates. It affects blood glucose levels, helps maintain blood pressure, and helps regulate the immune system. The level of cortisol in the blood normally rises and falls in a diurnal variation pattern. It peaks early in the morning, then declines throughout the day, reaching its lowest level about midnight. This pattern can change when a person works irregular shifts and sleeps at different times of the day, and it can become disrupted when a disease or condition either limits or stimulates cortisol production. A cortisol test may be used to help diagnose Cushing syndrome, a condition associated with excess cortisol, or to help diagnose adrenal insufficiency or Addison disease, conditions associated with deficient cortisol.
How this test is measured
This will test your levels of cortisol by taking a blood spot.
What is cortisol?
Cortisol is a hormone that affects many of the processes within our body. It impacts how we metabolize proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates, our blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and even our immune system.
Test cortisol levels at home
Diseases and conditions associated with imbalanced cortisol levels
How Is Adrenal Fatigue Treated
Your alternative health practitioner may treat adrenal fatigue by recommending that you quit alcohol, drugs, caffeine, and cigarettes, eat certain foods, exercise more and get more sleep. All of this advice should make you feel better.
Some practitioners may recommend you take supplements and vitamins for adrenal fatigue. Always check with your doctor before you take supplements in case they are harmful for you or might react with your other medicines.
If you have unexplained fatigue or exhaustion that doesnt go away, see your doctor. Your doctor will probably ask you about your symptoms and run some tests to rule out other health problems. Treating an underlying issue, such as iron deficiency or a low thyroid level, can help reverse fatigue.
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How To Test For Adrenal Fatigue
We recommend lab testing. But not just any lab tests. The tests that conventional doctors use for hormones are typical urine or blood. These are often not as accurate because they do not account for the amount of hormone that is actually within the cell. This is what truly matters when it comes to what your body has access to and how you are functioning.
This is why we use saliva testing. Saliva testing is the most accurate and reliable way to determine how much hormone is actually within the cell. The other thing that I love about it is that its non-invasive, so you can do it in the comfort of your own home. This is HUGE for people struggling with low energy because the last thing you probably want to do is drive yourself to a lab to get blood drawn.
So, this is how I test each time I want to check my hormones and cortisol levels, and its also what weve used for testing with clients over the last 12 years. We use a company called Labrix which merged with Doctors Data a few years ago.
And finally, its straightforward to doyou basically spit into a tube at 5 different times during the day to collect your sample. And then you send it back with prepaid shipping. SO easy. Its the testing that we will be using when we launch our group coaching program later this month.
I hope this episode has helped you understand what your options are for testing for adrenal fatigue.
Do you think you are suffering from adrenal fatigue? Take our 30 second quiz to find out.
Primary Adrenal Insufficiency Vs Adrenal Fatigue
Primary adrenal insufficiency, also referred to as Addisons disease or hypocortisolism, is a rare autoimmune condition characterized by low levels of adrenal hormones . This occurs when the adrenal glands fail to produce adequate hormones despite normal or increased production of ACTH by the pituitary gland.
Sometimes associated with autoimmune thyroid disease, Addisons disease is characterized by symptoms of fatigue, weight loss, nausea and vomiting, skin discoloration, and more, with the potential of life-threatening episodes occurring in response to major stress.
Primary adrenal insufficiency is confirmed with a combination of diagnostic tests and imaging tests of the adrenal glands.
In contrast, when the term adrenal fatigue is used, it refers to a condition with some of the symptoms of adrenal insufficiency but with normal laboratory tests.
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Laboratory Tests Specific For Adrenal Fatigue
As mentioned above, Adrenal Fatigue is difficult to diagnose with traditional blood tests those available are designed to detect the severe, absolute deficiencies of adrenal hormones that characterizes Addisons disease, which afflicts 4 out of 100,000 people. Addisons disease often results from an autoimmune disease or originates from an infection. Blood testing also is useful to detect extreme, excessive levels of adrenal hormones associated with Cushings disease. In other words, available blood tests measure adrenal hormones only at the extremes.
For a minute, picture a bell curve. The ACTH challenge test reveals extreme underproduction or overproduction of hormone levels, as shown by the top and bottom 2 percent of the bell curve. This means adrenal function must be extremely low in order to fit a recognized diagnosis. However, symptoms of non-Addison adrenal malfunction can begin to appear after a 15 percent deviation from the mean on the bell curve. Therefore, the adrenal glands could be functioning anywhere from 15 to 48 percent below the norm and not be detected by the ACTH test.
- Serum laboratory studies of two surrogate markers of adrenal function, cortisol and DHEA reveal a general picture that tells us if the body is in an anabolic state or catabolic state . However, these blood levels alone do not provide clear evidence that leads to a diagnosis of Adrenal Fatigue.
What Should I Expect From My Adrenal Test
Adrenal tests begin by drawing a sample of blood from a patient in order for it to be analyzed by a medical laboratory. Patients are commonly asked to avoid strenuous physical activity prior to taking the test, and may even be asked to lie down 30 minutes before their blood is taken. There are also a number of medications which could affect the results of the test, such as steroids, so its important to speak with your physician about what medications you are currently taking preceding your test. Though there is a reference range for results common among Adrenal tests, some labs may have different ranges for you and your physician. Speak to your doctor regarding your results to get more information on how your results concern to you and your health specifically.
Questions about online blood testing or how to order a lab test?
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Sargents White Line Test
First developed by French endocrinologist Emile Sargent, Sargents White Line Test is a simple way to test for moderate-to-severe adrenal hypofunction at home . Its said to be about 40% effective in revealing the presence of adrenal fatigue and can be done at no cost using a pointy, but not sharp, object such as the dull end of a retracted ballpoint pen.
To perform this test effectively, first uncover your abdomen and expose it to natural light for 15 minutes. Then, take your pointy object and gently and lightly stroke a patch of skin back and forth, creating a roughly six-inch straight line. Be sure not to scratch or break the skin in the process.
Within a few seconds, a white line should appear that, not long after that, turns red in color this being an indicator that your adrenal glands are healthy.
If the line stays white for several minutes, however, widening but never turning red, this could suggest the presence of adrenal gland fatigue. Thats because a lack of reddening typically suggests insufficient blood pressure levels in the body, which as with the Blood Pressure Test points to adrenal output being too low.
What Tests Are Done To Check Adrenal Function
You can gain insight into your adrenal function through taking a salivary cortisol test. Butbecause adrenal fatigue has become a popular talking point onlineits also very easy to presume you have it.
The problem is that assessing adrenal health from symptoms alone is very difficult. For the most accurate diagnosis, youd need to look at your symptoms and adrenal fatigue test results together. This often requires the knowledge of an experienced Functional Medicine Practitioner or Registered Nutritional Therapist. They are trained to understand the complexity of hormones and how they can influence your unique biochemistry.
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What Are Your Adrenals
Your adrenals are two small glands that sit on top of your kidneys. They produce a stress hormone called cortisol. They play many roles in your endocrine system.
Your endocrine system is the collection of glands that produce hormones to regulate your metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood, among other things.
Your adrenal glands are regulated by a number of complex feedback mechanisms, known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis . Your adrenal hormones work in harmony with other hormones and body systems to keep you feeling energised and alert.
Is Adrenal Fatigue Real
Its also worth pointing out adrenal fatigue is somewhat controversial and is much more recognized in the alternative health realm than it is in allopathic medicine. As a result, official statistics on its prevalence remain somewhat elusive.
However,its well accepted in all types of medical practice that the heighteningdemands of modern-day life are causing average stress levels to go through theroof. This means its likely safe to surmise that adrenal fatigue is much morecommon than many people think and you may even be suffering from ityourself.
But, how can you know for sure?
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