Aug 15, 2014

What Causes Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome

Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome

People get stressed due to many reasons. And if the adrenals will not be able to cope up with stress, you are bound to have adrenal fatigue. Your adrenals enable your body to counter any kind of stress, whether physical, emotional or psychological. They do this through the different body hormones which help regulate the storage and production of energy, your immune function, your heart rate and other chemical processes within the body that help you handle and cope up with stress.

Your adrenals need to counter whatever stress you are experiencing at any given time to make sure your homeostasis is maintained. If your adrenals failed to provide adequate response then you could cause you to experience adrenal fatigue.

And just like a chain reaction, this failure of your adrenals to provide adequate response will lead to an imbalanced homeostasis. As you have an inadequate adrenal response, your body’s different hormones are affected and they cannot optimize their functions and output leading to the imbalance of homeostasis. When you are experiencing chronic stresses or extreme stress, cumulatively, they will over stimulate your adrenal glands.

The adrenals are found just near the top of the kidneys and are consist of two parts. These are:

1.   The adrenal medulla, the inner part of the gland, which releases hormones such as epinephrine, dopamine and norepinephrine.

2.   Adrenal cortex, the outer part of the gland, which releases cortisol, aldosterone, corticosterone as well as the sex hormone – the androgens.

Cortisol is vital as it helps your body to prepare energy to handle both emotional and physical brought about by stress. Norepinephrine and epinephrine are the hormones responsible for your body’s fight for flight response as demonstrated by heart palpitations, increased pain threshold, widened pupils, fast heart rate and increased mental alertness.

In some cases, when you are experiencing any particular chronic disease, these conditions require greater needs on the adrenal glands. Whatever fatigue that you experience due to this chronic disease affects your adrenal glands to certain degree.

The assumption behind this adrenal fatigue supports the concept that your adrenals are constantly in the state of fight or flight mode due to chronic stress. This makes your adrenals to inadequately produce hormones that your body needs to handle fatigue, depression and stress.

It is said by different alternative medical practitioners along with other proponents of this adrenal fatigue that while blood tests cannot exactly define this particular adrenal malfunction, your body can; and this is how you get symptomatic.  So you could determine this syndrome, you will need to undergo a saliva test to measure your cortisol levels. Women who are perimenopausal and menopausal are more prone to adrenal fatigue due to the influence between the adrenal glands and other middle age hormonal transitions.

The Controversy

The prevailing medical community does not believe in the assumption about adrenal fatigue as there is no scientific proof that supports the concept that certain environmental factors such as chronic stress can injure the adrenals.

If a patient is misdiagnosed, when he is actually suffering from known adrenal disorders like Cushing’s syndrome, having high concentration of cortisol or Addison’s disease, having a low amount of cortisol, the condition could worsen. These disorders could be treated. Extreme fatigue could be caused by several medical conditions such as thyroid problems, pituitary problems, sleep apnea or strong depression.


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