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Adrenal fatigue is a syndrome where the adrenal glands function below the necessary level, resulting in a collection of signs and symptoms. The adrenal glands respond to all types of stress the same way, whether short term or prolonged. As prolonged stress continues, the adrenal glands experience varing stages of fatigue and effect more systems of the body. It can also be a complementary condition associated with almost every type of chronic health problem, especially conditions of autoimmunity, depression, chronic pain, and diabetes. A complementary condition is one that occurs secondary to an underlying stressor to the body. Examples of these are infections, food and airborne allergies, blood sugar imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, chronic emotional stress, and excessive physical exertion. People experiencing adrenal fatigue often have to use coffee, soda, and other stimulants to get going in the morning and to pick themselves up during the day.
If you suspect you may have a level of adrenal fatigue, consider how often you experience these symptoms.
- Fatigue in the morning even with a good night rest
- Craving a stimulant to wake up your body
- Dominant cravings for salts or sugars and breads
- Irritability if you miss a meal or it is late
Adrenal fatigue can wreak havoc in your life. In more serious cases, the activity of the adrenal glands is so diminished that you may have difficulty getting out of bed for more than a few hours a day. With each increment of reduction in adrenal function, every organ and system in your body is more profoundly affected. Changes occur in your carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism, fluid and electrolyte balance, heart and cardiovascular system, and even sex drive. Many other alterations take place at systemic biochemical and cellular levels to compensate for the decrease in adrenal hormones that occurs with adrenal fatigue. Your body does its best to make up for under functioning adrenal glands, but it does so at a price.
Things also affected by adrenal fatigue
- Sleep quality
- Thyroid Function
- Immune health
- Blood sugar balance
- Muscle pain and recovery
- Bone health