Diagnosis is an important part of the book as well. Because Wilson recognizes that most doctors know little about this syndrome, he provides everything that any fatigue sufferer needs to self-diagnose: a detailed questionnaire to help gauge the level of fatigue and potential causes, advice on the best tests to perform – both at home and in a laboratory setting, a health history timeline that can help you to pinpoint the various stressors that have led to your current condition, and many chapters meticulously detailing his best treatment advice for nursing yourself back to health. An entire section is also devoted to explaining what the patient can expect as he or she slowly recovers from this ailment.
Nieman adds that even when patients come in “hell bent on having this diagnosis, when I listen to everything they have to say and validate the symptoms, but tell them, ‘I really don’t think your adrenal is actually failing, but I think some of your problems are reversible,’ I find that they accept [my point of view], and can give up on this adrenal fatigue diagnosis.”
Regardless, this topic remains a heated one in the medical community. The Hormone Health Network released a scathing piece on the issue of adrenal fatigue, essentially warning patients that it is a false diagnosis, peddled by those who profit from the “expensive” treatment methods they suggest when diagnosing the disease, with no thought for the serious dangers they may put someone in by telling them adrenal fatigue is their problem. They also (incorrectly) remind people that supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA. (5)
Any excessive stress can deplete the adrenals, especially when weakened by poor nutrition. Working too much or emotional stress are two common causes. Excessive stimulation, especially for children, is another cause. Fast-paced, high-stress, fear-based lifestyles are a sure prescription for adrenal burnout. Other stressors in cities are noise and electromagnetic pollution. Cell phones, microwave towers and appliances like televisions, microwave ovens and computers give off strong electrical fields.
The effects of adrenal dysfunction can be profound: fatigue and weakness, suppression of the immune system, muscle and bone loss, moodiness or depression, hormonal imbalance, skin problems, autoimmune disorders, and dozens of other symptoms. The good news is that adrenal fatigue can almost always be relieved. Let’s look at the relationships between stress, high cortisol levels and adrenal fatigue, and then we’ll look at how you can give your adrenals more support.
The adrenal glands, which sit on top of your kidneys like little kidney baseball caps, release several important hormones, one of which is cortisol. You've probably heard about cortisol before since it's your major stress hormone. Cortisol is supposed to be higher in the morning when you wake up and slowly go down throughout the day so that you can sleep well. It's not necessarily a bad guy—it actually helps regulate your blood sugar and pressure—but you want cortisol to be in balance. Not too high and not too low.
Hi Dr. Jill – I have a theory that i would love to get your opinion on? I believe that i have adrenal fatigue and also urinary retention. I have puffy eyes, especially on the bottom. I have Hashimotos any many other issues. I am trying to figure out the cause of the urinary retention and have noticed that when i get hyped up, such as when rushing for an important occasion, such as a wedding , funeral or such that i have a great release of my bladder when i am rushing to get ready for the occasion. I am wondering if it is the adrenal fatigue that is causing the retention and then when i am rushing around and using up my reserve energy , that is when my bladder releases the urine. Any input would be much appreciated, thank you!
I think adrenal fatigue is real and could be the symptom of other illnesses. When your cortisol level is low for whatever reasons your blood pressure is bound to be low resulting in lethargy and general weakness. People who complain of tiredness should be checked thoroughly by endocrinologists to ensure that they are not suffering from serious illnesses such as Addison ‘s disease for example.
I am lucky to have lived now for 12 years with a heart transplant, requiring that I take myriad drugs to suppress my immune system and manage inflammation, as is the normal course. With a suppressed immune system, one is vulnerable to infections and I have been no exception. Every winter I am sick sick sick with colds and bronchial infections verging on pneumonia. But not this year. My PCP wondered if my adrenals had become “lazy” from prednisone doing their work for them. This fall we tried a daily dose of 1,000 mg of B12. The boost of energy was immediately noticeable. Most importantly, I fought off a cold, unheard of for the past 12 years—even during a very stressful period over Christmas in which my husband was suddenly diagnosed with cancer (in remission already!). Despite all the stress of caring for him and being with him in the hospital, exposed to pathogens for weeks during flu season, I remain astonishingly vigorous and well. I would recommend that heart transplant patients and others with suppressed immune systems explore this solution with their clinicians. I am only a short-term case-study of one, but the difference has been astonishing—and right at the moment I needed the wellness to save my husband’s life.
Rethinking Fatigue: What Your Adrenals Are Really Telling You and What You Can Do about It is a book by Nora Gedgaudas, the author of Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and A Longer Life. With expertise in both nutritional science and neurofeedback therapy, Dr. Gedgaudas brings a fresh voice to the debate concerning fatigue and adrenal function.
Some people call the time when the "camel's back" finally breaks a "nervous breakdown." However, nerves really don't break down; adrenal glands do. A "nervous breakdown" is actually adrenal fatigue, or when the adrenal glands can't deal with the amount of stress they're given. Adrenal fatigue used to be rare, but is now all too common because of our lack of relaxation and other lifestyle factors, such as smoking, sleep deprivation, poor eating habits and excessive caffeine intake, as well as allergies.
This voluminous work on the subject of adrenal fatigue covers the issue like few others. Peppered throughout with the lessons he’s learned from a lifetime spent working with fatigued patients, the book explores the full range of issues related to this debilitating syndrome. He goes out of his way to refute the modern medical consensus that holds that there is no such thing as adrenal fatigue by presenting all of the scientific evidence that supports its existence. More importantly, he offers a sound strategy for addressing the syndrome, utilizing nutrition, supplements, and hormonal support when necessary.
One of the realities of being a pharmacist is that we’re easily accessible. There’s no appointment necessary for consultation and advice at the pharmacy counter. Questions range from “Does this look infected?” (Um, yes) to “What should I do about this chest pain?” to more routine questions about conditions that can easily be self-treated. Pharmacists have an important triage role — advising on conditions that can be safely self-managed, and knowing when medical referrals are necessary or appropriate. Among the most common questions I’ve received in my time working in a retail pharmacy are related to stress and fatigue. Energy levels are down, and patients want advice and solutions. Some want a “quick fix,” believing that the right mix of megadoses of vitamins are all that stand between them and unlimited energy. Others may ask if prescription drugs, herbal supplements, or even caffeine tablets could help. Evaluating vague symptoms is a challenge. Many of us have busy lifestyles, and don’t get the sleep and exercise we need. We may also compromise our diets in the interest of time and convenience. With some simple questions I might make a few basic lifestyle recommendations, talk about the evidence supporting supplements and vitamins, and suggest physician follow-up if symptoms persist. Fatigue and stress may be part of life, but they’re also symptoms of serious medical conditions. But they can be hard to treat because they’re non-specific and may not be easily distinguishable from the fatigue of, well, life.
Primary adrenal insufficiency is what is known as Addison’s disease and occurs when the adrenal glands are damaged by some type of trauma and can’t produce enough cortisol or aldosterone. The much more common type of adrenal insufficiency is known as secondary adrenal insufficiency and occurs when the pituitary gland stops producing adenocorticotropin (ACTH). ACTH is what stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, so it stops this process from moving along. (39)
She begins with a central issue: the nature of stress. As she explains it, stress is not people, places, things, or events. Stress is not any external factor that somehow does things to you. Those are stressors. Stress, however, is nothing more than your mind and body’s reaction to those outside stimuli. Moreover, stress is not inherently bad for you either. Some stress reactions can save your life – such as the fight or flight response that provides your body with the burst of energy you might need to escape from momentary danger. Exercise is another example of a type of stress that can have positive impact on your life.
Addisonian crisis: Causes, symptoms, and treatment An Addisonian crisis can cause weakness, nausea, fever, and even death. It is caused by a dramatic drop in cortisol levels. Cortisol helps regulate blood sugar levels and blood pressure, so a shortage can be dangerous. Read on to learn more about this condition caused by an adrenal gland failure. Read now