What Are The Symptoms Of Adrenal Disorders
The symptoms of adrenal disorders vary depending on which hormones are involved. Many of the symptoms of adrenal disorders are similar to those of other illnesses.
Symptoms of high levels of cortisone include:
- Upper body obesity, while arms and legs stay thinner.
- Being tired and confused.
- Developing high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Skin that bruises easily.
- Developing a greater sex drive.
Developing masculine traits is called virilization.
High Levels Of Fatigue Each Day
Do you feel that your energy levels are just at a permanently lower level than they used to be? Aging is often a factor in this, but chronic stress can be a major contributor to exhaustion too. If youre one of those people who find themselves drinking more and more coffee just to get through the day, it might be time to look at the underlying cause behind your tiredness.
In the later stages of Adrenal Fatigue, your adrenals become depleted and unable to produce enough of the hormones that you need. This means that your levels of cortisol, along with neurotransmitters like adrenaline and norepinephrine, are generally lower than they should be.
The relative lack of these crucial hormones explains how patients suffering from Adrenal Fatigue find it difficult to lift themselves or maintain any kind of reasonable energy level throughout the day. There is one exception though Adrenal Fatigue sufferers sometimes experience a bounce in energy in the late evening.
If you want to get your energy levels back to where they were, there are a few things that you need to do. Adopting an adrenal fatigue diet will give your adrenals and HPA axis the raw materials they need to recover. Removing sources of stress from your life will eliminate one of the causes of your adrenal exhaustion. And changing your lifestyle will have a measurable impact on your ability to handle stress.
What Students Can Do
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Figure 3: You Dont Have Adrenal Fatigue.
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How Is Adrenal Fatigue Diagnosed
There is no test which can tell whether or not you have adrenal fatigue. A 24-hour salivary adrenal test has been used to check the function of the adrenal glands. However, many doctors, including adrenal gland specialists, do not consider that this test is appropriate to measure the function of the adrenal glands.
A 24-hour salivary adrenal test involves taking saliva samples four times during 24 hours. The samples are usually taken at 8 am, 12 noon, 4 pm and midnight. The early-morning steroid level should be the highest level of the day but may be reduced if the adrenal gland is not working properly.
You may need blood tests to make sure there are no other reasons why you feel very tired, such as anaemia or an underactive thyroid gland. Further tests will also be needed if there is any concern that your adrenal glands are not working properly.
What Does Adrenal Crisis Mean
Adrenal crisis is a medical emergency. Its the most serious complication of adrenal insufficiency and happens due to a severe lack of cortisol. An adrenal crisis can be life-threatening. Symptoms of adrenal crisis include:
- Severe pain in your lower body that comes on quickly.
- Bouts of vomiting and diarrhea.
- Confusion and loss of consciousness.
- Low blood glucose,
- Low blood pressure.
If you have adrenal insufficiency, you should always have an injectable form of glucocorticoid medicine with you and you should wear some type of medical alert jewelry with that information. Make sure your family and friends know how to give the injection in the case of an emergency.
Other hormone imbalances and symptoms can occur with adrenal disorders. These include having too much potassium or not enough sodium in your blood.
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What Is Male Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue is an unfortunately common condition among men. The main culprits are high levels of stress many men experience in daily life. When a man is experiencing stress, his adrenal glands respond by increasing production of cortisol. This provokes a physiological response, including narrowed blood vessels, increased heart rate, and increased perspiration rate. In a world defined by acute, short-term threats, this is a valuable reaction that helps people respond to stress better. However, in todays world of chronic, low-grade stress, the long-term effects of high cortisol levels and adrenal stimulation can be devastating.
The adrenal glands were never designed to be continuously producing high levels of cortisol. After time, they become worn out, or exhausted, and can no longer produce sufficient cortisol and other adrenal hormones like DHEA. This leads to a general hormone imbalance that can affects levels of virtually every other hormone and result in a serious decline in quality of life.
Studies have shown that adrenal fatigue among men can lead to increased risk of heart disease, infection, muscle wasting, and other conditions. Men suffering from adrenal fatigue experience a decrease in their overall sense of well-being, and many rely on caffeine and other stimulants to keep themselves going.
Low cortisol and DHEA levels due to adrenal fatigue may cause many unpleasant symptoms, including:
But Is Adrenal Fatigue A Real Disease
The adrenals are two small glands that sit on top of the kidneys and produce several hormones, among them, cortisol. When under stress, we produce and release short bursts of cortisol into the bloodstream. The adrenal fatigue theory suggests that prolonged exposure to stress could drain the adrenals leading to a low cortisol state. The adrenal depletion would cause brain fog, low energy, depressive mood, salt and sweet cravings, lightheadedness, and other vague symptoms.
Numerous websites mention how to diagnose and treat adrenal fatigue. However, the Endocrinology Society and all the other medical specialties do not recognize this condition. The Endocrinologists are categorical: “no scientific proof exists to support adrenal fatigue as a true medical condition.” This disconnect between conventional and complementary medicine adds to the frustration.
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How Are Adrenal Disorders Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will likely start by asking questions about your symptoms. They will then order tests to determine the levels of hormones in your saliva, blood and urine.
If your provider suspects tumors, they might order imaging tests such as CT scans, MRIs or nuclear imaging tests.
Your regular healthcare provider may refer you to an endocrinologist, a specialist in hormones and diseases of the endocrine system.
Characteristic Symptoms Of Adrenal Fatigue
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Who Is More Likely To Develop Adrenal Insufficiency
Women are more likely than men to develop Addisons disease.3 This condition occurs most often in people between the ages of 30 and 50,2 although it can occur at any age, even in children.
Secondary adrenal insufficiency occurs in people with certain conditions that affect the pituitary.
People who take glucocorticoid medicines, such as prednisone, for a long time and then stop are most likely to develop tertiary adrenal insufficiency. These medicines are used to treat medical conditions such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, cancer, and inflammation, among others.
Reduce Stress Thats Within Your Control
Its not realistic to obliterate all stress. But you can turn some stressors down a few notches. Your first step: Identify your areas of stress, using the Stress Web, below, as a guide.
Consider your stress level for each area of the web.
To make this easy, you might download and print out the web so you can color in the areas based on how much stress they deliver.
Lets say youre training hard in the gym several days a week. Then you might color in all four sections of the physical part of the circle.
On the other hand, maybe youre not dealing with any of the financial stressors. In that case, you might not color any of those in.
Once you see which areas pose the most stress, brainstorm ways to reduce those areas of stress.
And know that its not always about the big things.
For example, our client, Zahra, noticed that her environmental and mental dimensions of the stress web were particularly high.
After some thought, she made a couple changes. She:
bought noise-cancelling headphones to drown out her household
installed apps on her computer to block certain websites during periods of the day
Those strategies allowed her to cut down on unproductive distractions and focus on her work tasks.
After a month, Zahra was feeling more clear-headed, and actually started enjoying her workday more. Plus, she had way more energy. She hadnt realized how depleting all those competing distractions had been.
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Causes Signs Symptoms Treatments And Controversy
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.
What Causes Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue is caused when your adrenal glands cannot cope when you are very stressed. The adrenal glands are an essential part of your body’s responses to any kind of physical, emotional or psychological stress. During adrenal fatigue your adrenal glands can respond but not well enough to stop you feeling very tired.
Many different types of stress can cause adrenal fatigue. Examples of physical stress include any severe or recurrent infection or illness, having an operation, poor diet or a severe injury. Emotional or psychological stress may be caused by many situations, including relationship, family or work difficulties.
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How To Manage Adrenal Fatigue In Women
So how do we deal with all of this? The most obvious solution would be to reduce levels of stress. The good news is that, through a combination of lifestyle management and a diet rich in specific nutrients, you can reduce both stress and the threat of high cortisol levels. When you want to defeat stress, the best place to start is to avoid stressors in your daily life. Obviously, this is easier said than done. Oftentimes, we have no idea when we are about to be faced with situational stressors. However, we often deal with stressors in our day-to-day lives that are more predictable and, therefore, easier to avoid. Whether those daily stressors are specific people or locations, it is important to identify them to see if they can be removed from our daily lives. Being able to do so could have lasting, positive implications for our long-term health. There are also a number of foods that we can eat as part of an adrenal fatigue diet. Some of these foods include healthy starches , organic vegetables, wild caught fish, grass-fed organic meats, and foods that contain healthy fats.
The Myth Of Adrenal Fatigue
When patients present claiming that stress has worn out their adrenal glands, it can be easy to discount their belief in adrenal fatigue but they often have real symptoms that require treatment.
If more proof is needed that the Internet provides a wealth of information and misinformation, endocrinologists need to look no further than the increasing number of patients who claim a diagnosis of adrenal fatigue.
Although current medical science recognizes no such condition, physicians need to take the complaints and symptoms of these patients seriously, according to Endocrine Society President Lynnette Nieman, MD, who is a senior investigator at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Our role is to be good active listeners to determine if there is a true medical disorder lurking among the complaints. It is very important to take the person seriously, not to brush them off and say there is no adrenal fatigue. These people are suffering from something, so we need to take the suffering seriously.
The patient may have already been to see a naturopath who promotes the condition, so may be taking supplements of unknown formulations to treat it.
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Getting Help For Your Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms
If you experience any of the above symptoms, contact a medical provider. These warning signs do notnecessarily mean you have Adrenal Fatigue, but a medical professional can help you understand whatis going on with your body. Here at Prime Mens Medical Center, our team can diagnose and prescribea tailored recovery plan based on your individual needs. Give our office a call today to get themedical answers you need.
How Do Men Get Adrenal Fatigue
If a mans stress level remains excessive for a prolonged length of time , the adrenal glands respond by producing the adrenal hormone cortisol continually. This over-exertion taxes the adrenal glands to the point where the glands are unable to produce the necessary levels of cortisol to keep up with the demand and subsequently these drastically diminished levels of cortisol eventually lead to adrenal fatigue in men. This hormonal imbalance-induced fatigue affects all other hormones in the body, producing a chain-like reaction. While attempting to maintain high cortisol production to manage the chronic stress levels, the adrenal glands are unable to maintain the production of other necessary hormones. One such hormone is DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone. DHEA is vital to maintaining the balance of hormones in your body, and low amounts of this important hormone contribute to adrenal fatigue symptoms in men.
There is also a condition known as Cushings syndrome that, while rare, can lead to high levels of cortisol and, therefore, adrenal fatigue.
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Adrenal Gland Hormones Essential For Life
Chronic stress is the underlying cause of adrenal fatigue. The adrenal glands release a very important hormone, used to manage stress called Cortisol, which is critical for life and the key to normal physical composition and emotional stress responses. Unlike other hormones in our body the adrenal hormones generally do not decrease with age. Called the stress hormone, Cortisol levels rise when emotional stress is increased or emergencies occur. When the adrenal glands are weak, we no longer view stress as a challenge, we view it as a threat. Weak adrenals set the stage toward illness and disease.
Both physical and emotional stress, which causes excessive and chronic excretion of Cortisol over time, will eventually exhaust the adrenal glands, resulting in lower Cortisol production. This insidious cycle can cause premature aging of tissues and total body burnout. Over time, chronically elevated Cortisol levels due to persistent stress leads to hormonal imbalance that affects all the other hormones in the body, producing a chain-like reaction resulting in body fat accumulation, increased blood sugars, fatigue, bone loss, decreased sex drive and immune system deficiencies.
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.
Regular exercise is also important. See the separate leaflet called Exercise and Physical Activity.
There is no evidence that supplements are of any value, and some supplements may be harmful.
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