What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Prolonged exposure to stress can result in a multitude of symptoms such as fatigue, depressive mood, lightheadedness, body aches, salt & sugar cravings, and brain fog to name a few. The cluster of symptoms is often recognized as Adrenal Fatigue in Functional Medicine. Although this terminology is not accepted as a medical diagnosis; people have improvement in all symptoms when addressed properly.
Fatigue is a universal symptom and is such a common complaint that occurs in various conditions, it is often not considered in conventional medicine. People with adrenal fatigue appear relatively normal without obvious signs of a physical illness, yet have a general feeling of being unwell. Often coffee, soda and stimulants are used to get them going in the morning and to prop themselves throughout the day.
As the condition worsens, it lays the foundation of other ailments such as frequent respiratory infections, allergies, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, hypoglycemia, adult onset diabetes, auto-immune disorders and alcoholism.
Here is a typical day for someone struggling with Adrenal Fatigue:
They wake unrested despite sleeping for 8+ hours. Caffeine is used to get them moving and keep them moving throughout the day. There is a “lull” around 10am and they often feel better immediately after lunch. From 2pm-5pm the energy can be so severe requiring the person to lay down or nap for 15 minutes to 1.5 hours! The evening from 6pm-9pm is typically “okay” with a “second wind” of energy from 11pm-2am. Getting up in the morning is a mild stressor on the body, if they are able to sleep later in the morning; the most refreshing sleep is from 7am-9am.
Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms
- Wake unrested despite 8 hours of sleep
- Drinking coffee to keep going
- Energy Lull around 10am, feels better after lunch
- 2-5pm low energy, severe and having to lay down 10-15 min-1.5 hours
- 6-9pm feel ok
- Second wind at 11pm-2am
- 7-9am most refreshing sleep
Adrenal Fatigue Treatment
Treatments are available and most important is discovering the cause. Changing your lifestyle to minimize stress with a positive shift in attitude can be helpful as well. Being sure to get eight hours of sleep and finding enjoyable activities. There are numerous herbal and supplement protocols to help reduce the impact on the brain and improve symptoms. Sipping tea in the evening can have a calming effect and help lower stress levels. Chamomile tea may be helpful, read more in this article about the benefits of Chamomile tea.
Walking, a slow jog or lifting weights no greater than one hour to avoid increasing stress on the body. A gauge of too much activity is to be sure you can carry on a conversation during your exercise regimen. If your activity is greater than 1 hour, there is an increase in steroid hormones due to the stress on the body and adrenal fatigue worsens. This is also known as post-exertional fatigue, meaning you “crash” following too much activity.
Although underlying conditions often cause adrenal fatigue, they can also result from lifestyle choices such as excessive alcohol consumption or lack of physical activity. If you’d like to read more about how exercise can help with stress management check out my blog article. It is essential to understand that there are many ways to manage adrenal fatigue successfully.
Want more information about Adrenal Fatigue? Call Renew Integrative Health at 302-444-4366 and talk to Andrea Dean about your treatment options.
Finding a holistic doctor in Newark, DE can be hard but Andrea Dean can help guide your treatment plan and allow you to decide what is the best choice for YOU.