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What is Adrenal Fatigue / Exhaustion?

By on Jan 1, 2011

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What is Adrenal Fatigue?Adrenal fatigue is a condition that is becoming increasingly well known amongst health professionals. Modern living is a main contributing factor to adrenal fatigue. Excessive and constant stress (due to family, work life, financial pressures) in our everyday lives puts more pressure on the adrenal glands and can eventually lead to adrenal fatigue or exhaustion.  Unfortunately, this condition is going to be more common due to continued work uncertainty and financial concerns that more people face.  Adrenal fatigue is becoming more common in younger people. Poor diet is also contributes to this condition. The high intake of processed foods, caffeine, refined carbohydrates, sugar and salt all put extra pressure on the adrenal glands.

The adrenals are a pair of glands that sit above each kidney. The glands are the size of a large grape and they are responsible for producing various essential hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol, aldosterone, norepinepherine and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Aldosterone is involved in maintaining the correct water / salt balance in the body. Adrenaline, cortisol, ephinephrine and DHEA are the body’s main stress hormones, which are released if we become stressed.

These hormones are naturally released at the highest level in the morning and the lowest at night. Cortisol is required for the breakdown of carbohydrates and the regulation of blood sugar. As you can see the adrenal glands are responsible for a variety of essential functions in the body.

Periods of prolonged stress can cause an imbalance of these hormones and lead to various health problems.  Both reduced and increased adrenal function can cause a cascade of health problems. Reduced adrenal function can lead to various health disorders such as low blood pressure, recurrent infections, allergies, depression, and thyroid problems. Increased adrenal function can cause illnesses such as depression, high blood pressure, muscle weakness, weight gain, weak bones, decreased immune function, mood swings and period problems in women.  The adrenal glands need to be in a state of balance to in order for us to be healthy.

Signs of adrenal fatigue/exhaustion.

This is a list of the common symptoms associated with adrenal fatigue / exhaustion:

  •          Depression or low mood.
  •          Tiredness – especially on waking in the morning.
  •          Increased frequency of infections (low immune function)
  •          Digestive problems
  •          Increased allergies
  •          Increased craving for sweet and salty foods
  •          Weight gain around the abdomen
  •          Restlessness
  •          Insomnia or low reduced sleep
  •          General tiredness and fatigue
  •          Muscle aches
  •          Lack of concentration
  •          Low sex drive
  •          Anxiety
  •          Low energy (run down feeling)
  •          Increased PMS
  •          Reliance on stimulants such as caffeine

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