Adrenal exhaustion is a hot topic in alternative medicine. Stress and anxiety have a profound effect on an individual’s mental and emotional state. Increases in adrenal activity caused by stress can lead to harmful hormonal imbalances and physical problems.
Energy and Sugar
The adrenal glands are responsible for creating hormones that help the body balance its energy force. Part of the process requires regulating blood sugar levels, since sugar is a nervous energy-producing element. When your blood sugar level falls, the adrenal glands work to raise the level in order to produce adequate energy.
Fight or Flight
Along with balancing energy within the body through blood sugar regulation, the adrenal glands produce energy when the body is under stress. The hormones are effective in protecting the individual from harm, as it is closely linked to fear and the fight or flight response.
The fight or flight instinct is very powerful and it often exists on a subconscious level. This is because people do not need to use the instinct on a regular basis as they did in ancient times. We no longer need to protect ourselves from predators regularly, making the response practically unnecessary.
The body still produces the hormones necessary for the fight or flight response when an individual is under stress. You may feel the effects of the adrenal rush when you are in a very stressful, fearful or anger-provoking situation. Some physical signs such as increased heart rate and shaking commonly occur in this state.
Everyone experiences stress every day. It is a perfectly natural condition, but excessive stress can have a significant impact on the adrenals because they are continually required to release stress hormones associated with the fight or flight response. Eventually, they fail to produce enough hormones to maintain healthy balance.
Diagnosis of adrenal exhaustion is difficult because there are no tests currently in use to detect the condition. Endocrinologists can pinpoint adrenal dysfunction when the glands fail to work completely. This is problematic because the fatigue leads to inadequate production rather than complete failure. An alternative approach is to test the saliva for cortisol to determine whether the adrenals are working properly. It is necessary to see a practitioner who works with complementary or holistic medicine.
Consider the symptoms of adrenal fatigue to determine whether the glands are functioning properly. Symptoms include but are not restricted to:
• Sleepy after getting adequate hours of rest
• Excess tiredness during the day
• Overwhelmed by regular activities
• More energy in the evening hours
• Can’t cope with anxiety-producing situations
• Become ill easily
• Digestive problems
• Over-sensitive to cold temperatures
• Exhausted after exercising
• Low blood pressure
Christiane Northrup, M.D. offers helpful information about adrenal exhaustion as well as suggestions for treatment. Holistic approaches offer natural alternatives that allow the body to create a hormonal balance.
• Reduce stress
• Focus on positive thoughts
• Avoid caffeine and sugar
• Include protein in meals and stacks
The holistic approaches allow the body to reduce stress hormones, creating balance. Since stress is the primary problem in adrenal exhaustion, it is important to incorporate effective relaxation techniques as well as natural stress reducers.
May 24th, 2009
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