I have been working in a very high stress environment for the last several months. Within a month of starting this job I started having what felt like heart attacks but which the ER docs told me were panic attacks. I ended up having to take a leave of absence to recover and finally resigned when I realized that I literally dreaded going back to work to that point that every time I thought about returning I felt the anxiety attacks starting. It’s been a month now since I quit and I still feel physically exhausted and unhealthy with frequent heart palpitations and dizzy spells. Drs including cardio can’t find anything physically wrong with me. Does this sound like adrenal fatigue to you? If so, How do I get my health back to normal? FYI I’ve been in perimenopause for about 3 years now I still get my period about once every 3-4 months and they are generally very heavy and last for about 3-5 days.
This is a test that is rarely conducted by doctors, and even then usually only on hyperthyroid patients. However it can give a useful insight into the overall function of the thyroid. T3 is produced when TSH stimulates the thyroid. When used in conjunction with the other thyroid tests, this helps to give a complete picture of why the thyroid is underperforming. Optimal values should be somewhere in the 300-450 pg/ml range. However, the typical lab range allows values as low as 230 pg/ml.
Find somewhere quiet, away from distractions. Sit or lie in a position you can maintain comfortably for at least twenty minutes. Close your eyes to help bring on a sense of calm and allow yourself to focus inwards. Release any tension in your shoulders and face. Begin by breathing naturally, focusing on the movement of air in and out of your lungs. Imagine the air moving into your nose and down through your chest, into your lungs and down into your belly.
Less obvious but no less important stimulants may include anger, rage, arguing, hatred, loud music, fearful news and even movies full of suspense or violence. Other activities that may act as stimulants and must not be overlooked include vigorous exercise, sexual preoccupations, recreational drug use or other thrills. These often provide a temporary “high”, which is caused in part by the secretion of high amounts of adrenal hormones. However, over time, this weakens the adrenals and can eventually lead to adrenal depletion and insufficiency.
Did you know that MDs receive less than one day of nutrition training during their entire 4 years at medical school? A 2006 study found that the average MD received only 23.9 hours on this vitally important subject. Modern healthcare has drifted away from promoting things like nutrition, emotional wellness, and exercise, and has become almost exclusively focused on treating acute, life-threatening conditions. Again, that's not so helpful if you are suffering from a condition like Adrenal Fatigue.
Although primary adrenal insufficiency is considered a rare disease, understanding the connection it has with autoimmune thyroid disease is worthwhile, especially for a select (but small) group of people. In fact, one study suggests that primary adrenal insufficiency may be the culprit behind some people's persistent symptoms, despite treatment of their thyroid disease.
Is this a book or a website? Best Boo-Boo Kisser South Of Puckett’s Gas Station. I’ve found that foot zoning and body code have helped me a lot in recovering from unhappy adrenals, thyroid, and liver. The foot zoning helps teach the body how to heal itself and releases trapped emotions. The body code finds the imbalances and rebalances them while releasing the trapping emotions. I think red raspberry leaf tea or is it peppermint tea that helps with adrenal function. I’m wondering if my pillow is off gasing and making it harder to get a good night sleep. There’s gotta be a healthy pillow that provides good support without being noisy like the buckwheats pillows.
Here’s another important thing to know about cortisol testing. Taking a single measurement, or even a 24-hour average, is not enough. The best cortisol tests take 4 individual samples at various points of the day and then map your cortisol levels over the course of a 24 hour cycle. Our cortisol levels vary dramatically, starting high when we wake up and then tapering off until they reach their lowest point late at night. This usually represents something like an 80% drop, which is perfectly normal. Your health care professional needs to see not just your average cortisol level, but also the size of the morning spike and how sharply it drops off afterwards.
Wondering if any of you have this happening…my symptoms are worse each month around the same day the 20th. Starts out feeling flu like massive headache, body aches slight fever, nausea. And in 2-3 days it starts to dissipate and then moves to my lower back and nerve like radiating pain in my lower back. Usually lasting 2-3 days, this month it came earlier and lasted longer 6 nights to be exact. Happens like this each month. Today, the Endocrinologist told me it’s not hormones/menopausal. What the heck!!
When a threat happens, your sympathetic nervous system stops digesting your food, it stops worrying about producing babies so your reproduction stops and it takes away the priority from worrying about your immune system and your thyroid (because your body thinks it’s in survival fight/flight mode getting chased by a tiger) and your blood rushes out of those areas and into your legs and arms so that you can flee from the tiger your body thinks is chasing you. Your sympathetic nervous system was deigned to deal with physical challenges, so that’s why this reaction occurs. So, what is really happening is that your body doesn’t care about the long-term focus of your health right now. It’s focused on how to keep you alive right now in this moment through the fight/flight mode. THIS is called the stress response (fight/flight mode). Your blood pressure increases, your palms sweat and you feel pumped up and ready to fight or flee from danger. Sound familiar?
Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome comes from a failure of the adrenal glands to efficiently produce hormones. The adrenal glands secrete cortisol, a hormone fundamental to optimal health. An excess of cortisol in the body can lead to severe problems, including Cushing’s syndrome. However, when released in normal levels by the adrenal gland, cortisol is essential to helping our bodies cope with stress and to fight infection – without cortisol the body cannot sustain life! Balance is crucial. Cortisol affects every tissue, organ, and gland in the body. When the adrenal glands are fatigued, they do not supply the body with enough cortisol. The body does what it can to get by, but it is not without consequences. As such, Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome generally precedes other chronic conditions.
Lori, I loved your entire comment. So hopeful, patient, and wise. This new world of social media… so much great help out there especially for getting involved and doing your own research. But also so much judgment, condemnation, lies and more. Baby steps is so true. Starting where it matters most to you is so important as habits change and hope is born. Thank you for being an encouraging voice! Keep up your good work for your own health.
Dr. Eric Wood is a licensed Naturopathic doctor with extensive clinical and teaching experience. He graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine with additional post graduate studies at the Benson Henry Institute of Mind Body Medicine at Harvard. Dr. Wood has worked in both private practice and consulting work, with experience in many different areas of Integrative and Mind Body Medicine. He has specialty training and expertise in the areas of oncology, infectious disease, Adrenal Fatigue and anti-aging medicine.
If the intensity and frequency of the stresses in your life — either those internally driven (such as your perceptions about your life) or those externally driven (such as having surgery or working the night shift) — become too great, then over time your adrenal glands will begin to become exhausted. This will mean that you are much more likely to suffer from fatigue and menopausal symptoms. And a woman in a state of adrenal fatigue is likely to find herself at a distinct disadvantage when entering perimenopause, because perimenopause itself is an additional form of stress.
Ideally, cortisol is released into the system only on an occasional basis, rather than in response to chronic stress. If cortisol levels become too high for too long, they may have undesirable side effects, including loss of bone density, muscle wasting, thinning of the skin, decreased ability to build protein, kidney damage, fluid retention, spiking blood sugar levels, weight gain, and increased vulnerability to bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeasts, allergies, parasites, and even cancer.
Any excessive stress can deplete the adrenals. Excessive workload, long hours, lack of sleep, or emotional stress are common. Other stressors in cities are noise and electromagnetic pollution. Cell phones, microwave towers and appliances like televisions, cell phones, wearable electronics, microwave ovens and computers give off strong EMF fields that can be stressful to our bodies
Conventional medicine is truly wonderful at treating disease-state conditions. Unfortunately its focus on drugs also tends to suppress early-stage symptoms rather than treat their underlying causes. This can have the effect of delaying treatment until a disease state has developed. This is true in the case of adrenal fatigue cortisol testing. In the conventional standard of care, any cortisol level within a very broad range is considered normal, and anything outside that range indicates disease.
As you can see, this presents a number of issues, namely, the inability to distinguish this pattern and its resulting symptoms from other disorders. Wilson’s parameters for this condition are nonspecific which, unfortunately, has led to a great controversy around this topic, even though the very nature of cortisol and bodily hormones is that their effects are far-reaching.
Nieman recommends taking a careful history and investigating the causes of each symptom or group of symptoms. “I suggest that we work with the patient’s primary-care person to exclude potential disorders such as anemia, obstructive sleep apnea, irritable bowel syndrome, depression or anxiety, diabetes, other systemic illness, poor diet, stress at work or home, or overtraining.”
The idea underlying the condition is that constant stress puts an undue burden on the adrenal glands to produce hormones — especially cortisol — and the glands burn out. The lack of adrenal hormones leads to a host of generalized symptoms, including tiredness, trouble falling asleep or waking up, and a need for stimulants like caffeine to get through the day. With the fast-paced demands of modern life making many people feel consistently stressed out and sleep-deprived, it’s easy to understand the appeal of a diagnosis that promises an explanation — and treatment to counteract their feelings of fatigue.