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How To Get Tested For Adrenal Fatigue

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Adrenal Fatigue Test: How to Test Yourself for Adrenal Fatigue at Home

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Adrenal Fatigue Test At Home

Since scientific research hasnt shown adrenal fatigue to be an official diagnosis, it isnt recommended that you carry out adrenal testing at home.

However, if you choose to do so, depending on your states laws, you may be able to order the tests online.

These include cortisol and glucocorticoid stimulation or suppression tests, which are frequently ordered by doctors to diagnose diseases of the adrenal glands, as well as the thyroid, ACTH, and DHEA tests.

Neurotransmitter tests, which require a urine sample, are often marketed for this purpose too, but

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 Addison’s 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 Cushing’s 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.

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Is Adrenal Fatigue Testing Useful

Despite the popularity of this theory, there is no evidence that adrenal fatigue is an actual condition, nor that adrenal fatigue testing results correlate with fatigue symptoms. The Endocrine Society does not recognize adrenal fatigue as a real condition.

A systematic review of 58 studies about adrenal fatigue and cortisol testing was completed in 2016 . The study authors concluded that:

  • Cortisol levels arent closely associated with fatigue symptoms 50-80% of the time, no matter the testing method used.
  • Salivary cortisol testing is not an accurate way to assess your adrenal glands function.
  • Popular questionnaires of adrenal fatigue symptoms are not scientifically validated.
  • There is no evidence that adrenal fatigue exists as a medical condition or is a cause of ongoing fatigue.

A separate systematic review of 108 studies concluded that people with post-traumatic stress disorder had cortisol levels and patterns similar to those of healthy individuals . An additional systematic review and meta-analysis found that neither adulthood trauma nor PTSD was associated with variations in cortisol levels. These results suggest the adrenal fatigue hypothesis, that stress affects your adrenal function and cortisol levels, is not real.

Causes Signs Symptoms Treatments And Controversy

Pin on Adrenals

With James L. Wilson, PhD

Excess stress causes the adrenal glands to increase cortisol production.

If you’re feeling tired and fried, chances are you’ve probably heard of adrenal fatigue and wondered if it may be the source of your constant exhaustion. But what exactly is it, and how do you know if it’s what’s causing your lack of oomph? Let’s investigate.

Adrenal fatigue is an increasingly common yet sometimes controversial diagnosis used to indicate depletion of the adrenal glands. Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenals for use in the regulation of blood pressure. In response to stress, the adrenals release greater amounts of cortisol. Adrenal fatigue is thought to occur when the adrenals have become overtaxed by excess cortisol release and can no longer produce levels of cortisol necessary for optimal body function.

James L. Wilson, PhD, who coined the term adrenal fatigue in his book Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Syndrome, describes the adrenals as two little glands that sit over your kidneys and are about the size of two large grapes and weigh about five-to-eight grams.

According to Wilson, The adrenals put out over fifty hormones. We often only hear about DHA and cortisol, but forty percent of womens estrogen or progesterone are made in the adrenal glands and about forty percent of testosterone in males is made in the adrenal glands.

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What Information Does Testing Give You

I think the most important aspect of testing for any disease is to not only know that you have the condition but to also learn more about your condition.

If you are interested in diagnosing and managing adrenal fatigue, because you suspect you have it, the first question you want answered is whether or not it’s present.

There’s only one problem with this when it comes to your adrenals:

There’s no consensus regarding which cortisol test is the most accurate.

That’s problem #1.

You have to understand the limitations of each test and what type of information you are actually getting from that test.

If you are testing your serum cortisol, which is generally how I recommend that you start, you aren’t necessarily getting accurate information about how stress is impacting your body.

Other measures, including your blood pressure, heart rate, and other hormones, may actually be better indicators of this.

This same problem exists for both salivary and urinary cortisol, even those they may give you a better understanding of how concentrated certain cells are with cortisol.

They still don’t give you the complete picture and may therefore be inaccurate.

But this isn’t even the only issue.

Let’s say you order a cortisol test and it comes back abnormal.

Now what?

That’s problem #2.

Once you have that information you better hope that the results you are getting are going to give you some idea how or what you should be doing to fix the problem.

Where To Take A Salivary Cortisol Test

You should discuss with your doctor or healthcare professional about your specific situation and symptomsand see if a salivary cortisol test would be useful for you. Unfortunately a lot of doctors and healthcare professionals are still unaware of the validity, reliability of salivary hormone testing. In these situations direct-to-consumer labs, are a good alternative, or you may purchase a test via websites such as Amazon. These options are also ideal for those who are uninsured, have a doctor who is not willing to order lab tests due to lack of awareness or who is not willing to be comprehensive. These lab tests allow patients to order tests directly or work with a practitioner for testing.

You can also purchase the below selected Adrenal Function tests directly via Amazon:

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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.

What Do The Results Mean

4 Ways to Test for Adrenal Fatigue At Home – Adrenal Series #3

High levels of cortisol may mean you have Cushing’s syndrome, while low levels may mean you have Addison disease or another type of adrenal disease. If your cortisol results are not normal, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a medical condition needing treatment. Other factors, including infection, stress, and pregnancy can affect your results. Birth control pills and other medicines can also affect your cortisol levels. To learn what your results mean, talk to your health care provider.

Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.

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What Is Adrenal Gland Fatigue

The term adrenal fatigue is a bit misleading in that it doesnt refer to the adrenal glands themselves wearing out. Rather, its a breakdown in how the adrenal glands communicate with the brain through a connection known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.

When the body is under prolonged or severe stress it can lead to a communication breakdown in the HPA axis leading to either adrenal overactivity or underactivity .

What Are The Adrenal Glands And What Do They Do

You have two small adrenal glands that lie just above each kidney. Each adrenal gland has an outer part and an inner part . Cells in the adrenal glands make various hormones. A hormone is a chemical which is made in one part of the body but passes into the bloodstream and has effects on other parts of the body.

Cells in the outer part of the adrenal glands make the hormones cortisol and aldosterone. The amount of cortisol that is made is controlled by another hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone . ACTH is made in a small gland that lies just under the brain . This in turn is stimulated by another hormone which is produced by another part of the brain called the hypothalamus. ACTH passes into the bloodstream, is carried to the adrenal glands and stimulates the adrenal glands to make cortisol.

  • Cortisol is a hormone that is vital for health. It has many functions which include:
  • Helping to regulate blood pressure.
  • Helping to regulate the immune system.
  • Helping to balance the effect of insulin in regulating the blood sugar level.
  • Helping the body to respond to stress.
  • Aldosterone helps to regulate salts in the blood and helps to control blood pressure.
  • Cells in the inner part of the adrenal glands make the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline . These have various actions throughout the body.

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    When Normal Is Not Normal With Laboratory Testing

    To illustrate how a normal laboratory test can be present in a body that is not well, let us consider the following:

    Laboratory testing plays an important and significant part of assessing bodily function. It should not be disregarded. However, as you can see from the above, just because laboratory testing results are within normal range does not necessarily mean a person is free of illness. Many chronic illnesses, including Adrenal Fatigue, progress over time slowly. Sole reliance on routine blood serum laboratory tests for definitive assessment is a grossly incomplete approach to start in the case of Adrenal Fatigue.

    So Whats Included With The Dutch Complete Plus

    Adrenal Fatigue Test: How to Test Yourself for Adrenal Fatigue at Home ...

    Starting with the DUTCH COMPLETE:

    The Dutch Complete was already an industry leader.

    This test is a comprehensive assessment of sex and adrenal hormones and their metabolites.

    It also includes the daily, free cortisol pattern, 8 Estrogen metabolites, metabolites of Progesterone, Total DHEAs, Androgens like Testosterone and its metabolites, Organic acids such as Dopamine, Serotonin, and Adrenaline Metabolites, Melatonin , and 8-OHdG.

    But Thats Not All.

    Its the PLUS PART IN

    The DUTCH Complete Plus that takes hormone testing to a whole new level.

    In addition to sex hormones and their metabolites, that you get with the DUTCH Complete

    The DUTCH PlusTM adds the Cortisol Awakening Response to bring another important piece of the HPA-axis into focus.

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    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.

    Tips To Diagnose And Treat Adrenal Fatigue

    As I mentioned, if ignored, adrenal fatigue can lead to even bigger problems, such as diabetes. To make sure you dont suffer these kinds of consequences, here are 11 simple guidelines Ive come up with for you to follow. Even if adrenal fatigue isnt your issue, these guidelines will still help improve your overall health, so theres no harm in trying them out:

    1. See a Natural Health Practitioner: If you suspect you have adrenal fatigue, who can help? Visit a natural health doctor, a naturopathic doctor, or a holistic nutritionist. They have a deeper understanding about adrenal fatigue, can better diagnose your condition, and can guide you in the right direction toward improved health and effective treatments.

    2. Be Aware of Salty Food Cravings: Do you find you crave salty snacks, such as potato chips? Do you maybe even devour the entire bag in one sitting? This can be a clear sign you suffer from adrenal fatigue, meaning its time to seek help and make the right moves to improve your health.

    3. Eliminate Sources of EMF Frequencies: There is one major cause of adrenal fatigue that is often ignoredEMF frequencies. The most common EMF sources include computers, smartphones, Bluetooth devices, and Wi-Fi signals. To help heal your adrenals, start by unplugging or shutting down these devices when theyre not in use and keep them out of your bedroom when sleeping.

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    Try This Easy Adrenal Fatigue Test At Home

    If you feel like you are suffering from some of the symptoms on the checklist above, especially if youve been exposed to chronic stressors or suffered a traumatic experience, you can take this easy adrenal fatigue test at home to check. This is not an alternative to seeing a medical professional and receiving an official diagnosis, but it can help you come to a better understanding of your health.

    To test for adrenal fatigue, you want to do an iris contraction test. This measures your bodys response to light stimulation. If your body lacks stamina in its response, that is, if it is unable to hold its reaction, this may indicate you are suffering from adrenal fatigue. In addition to your other symptoms, this is an easy way to both check and monitor over time your bodys reactions.

    What Is The Outlook

    How to Test for Adrenal Fatigue

    Most people with adrenal fatigue will recover quite quickly but severe symptoms may take some months to recover, or even longer. The time for recovery will vary enormously from person to person and will also depend on the cause of stress and the severity of symptoms. Following a good treatment plan, as described above, will help you to recover more quickly.

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    What Happens During A Cortisol Test

    A cortisol test is usually in the form of a blood test. During a blood test, a health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.

    Because cortisol levels change throughout the day, the timing of a cortisol test is important. A cortisol blood test is usually done twice a dayonce in the morning when cortisol levels are at their highest, and again around 4 p.m., when levels are much lower.

    Cortisol may also be measured in a urine or saliva test. For a cortisol urine test, your health care provider may ask you to collect all urine during a 24-hour period. This is called a “24-hour urine sample test.” It is used because cortisol levels vary throughout the day. For this test, your health care provider or a laboratory professional will give you a container to collect your urine and instructions on how to collect and store your samples. A 24-hour urine sample test usually includes the following steps:

    • Empty your bladder in the morning and flush that urine away. Record the time.
    • For the next 24 hours, save all your urine passed in the container provided.
    • Store your urine container in the refrigerator or a cooler with ice.
    • Return the sample container to your health provider’s office or the laboratory as instructed.

    Testing For Adrenal Fatigue

    Diagnosing Adrenal Fatigue from a single test or symptom is very difficult. To make an accurate diagnosis, doctors and naturopaths need to look at a range of tests, sometimes conducted multiple times, and take note of every symptom. This requires experience and a thorough knowledge of the various systems in your body, as well as some patience too. It may require two or three visits to the doctor before you can be sure that you have Adrenal Fatigue.

    Testing for Adrenal Fatigue can take several forms. First we have the standard hormone tests, which include testing for cortisol and various thyroid hormones. These are the tests that your medical doctor will likely give you. Then we have the tests more frequently used by integrative doctors or naturopaths these tend to look at the ratios of various hormones and neurotransmitters, in order to get a better idea of how a patient is feeling. And lastly we have a set of more subjective physical tests, which were mostly developed in the early days of Adrenal Fatigue diagnosis.

    To diagnose Adrenal Fatigue correctly requires using a combination of lab testing and feedback from the patient . On this page I will give a brief summary of the major tests that can be used in an Adrenal Fatigue diagnosis. Dr Wood and I discuss these tests in more detail in The Adrenal Fatigue Solution, along with some revealing tests used by integrative doctors.

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