A new season of the Dr. Oz show just began. I tape this series and watch it if it’s a topic I want to hear more about. Well one of the seasons first episodes was on Adrenal Fatigue. The epidemic that is plaguing American women.
Because I personally had adrenal fatigue, and cured myself from it, I am reposting my VIB piece, from April 2010.
Many women are suffering. They are suffering in silence, they are visiting doctor after doctor to seek out an answer. Most receive no relief from their symptoms, and over 90% of these women are misdiagnosed. The number one misdiagnosis of these symptoms is depression. Women by the thousands are being told they have depression and are being put on anti-depressants. It is not depression. Although depression is most definitely a byproduct of years of feeling tired, sad, confused and misunderstood.
ADRENAL FATIGUE SYMPTOMS: Do any of these sound familiar?
-Tired but wired feeling
-Difficulty losing weight – even with exercise and diet
-Moody and over sensitive
-Lethargy and lack of energy
-Increased effort to perform daily tasks
-Decreased ability to handle stress
-Low Body Temperature
-Feel overwhelmed easily
-Deep worn-out feeling
-Get viruses often
-Exaggerated startle response
-Dark circles under the eyes
-Low blood sugar
-A craving for salt
-Cravings for sweets, carbs, intolerance to alcohol
-Dry, unhealthy skin and hair
-Hand tremor/Leg shakes
-Lack of libido
-Negative response to thyroid hormone medicine
You don’t have to have all of them, however, if you’ve checked off five or more symptoms, it is highly probable that you are suffering from adrenal fatigue, or its medical name hypoadrenia.
This truly is a modern day epidemic. Our unusually high stress levels, coupled with very long days, poor nutrition, lack of proper exercise and inability to sleep properly, have left our adrenals exhausted. Stress on the adrenal glands depletes the bodies energy and hormone reserves. Throwing us out of balance and leaving us exhausted and ultimately, depressed.
The two adrenal glands, or suprarenal glands are the triangle-shaped endocrine glands that sit on top of our two kidneys. Your adrenal glands produce the stress hormones cortisol, norephinephrine and epinephrine-as well as hormones that turn into both female hormones like estrogen and progesterone and the male hormone testosterone, which women also have. The adrenals also produce your flight or fight chemicals, such as adrenaline. When the adrenals are stressed, like the rest of us, they become imbalanced and either overproduce or underproduce these hormones. For instance, if your body is in a constant state of stress your adrenaline is being overproduced in your body.
Adrenal glands are crucial to full body health and vitality, as well as the ability to fight off disease. Prolonged stress weakens the immune system and inhibits the production of white blood cells. Our adrenals regulate physical energy, the body’s metabolic rate (your metabolism), glandular energy (thyroid health) and the oxidation process (this is cell damage – remember the rusting I spoke about in the longevity post) – and these processes, when out of balance, can lead to the onset of illness.
The adrenals are like the command post of the entire endocrine system. If you adrenals are weakened, chances are you are going to have imbalances with your metabolism (weight gain), your cortisol (insomnia), nervousness and anxiety (adrenaline), and of course your thyroid. Many women are just tested for their thyroid, and I hate to say it, but most of the time the testing is not deep enough and everything comes back ‘normal’, except the feeling of the patient! who feels even more frustrated. While the thyroid is crucial and needs proper attention – the adrenals must be addressed and healed for optimum health. To put it simply, if you are given a thyroid medicine and nothing else is addressed – you might feel better for a month or so but all of your symptoms will come creeping back. Also calcium disrupts the efficacy of some tryroid medication. Wait four or more hours after taking your thyroid meds, and then take your calcium.
By the way this is not just a women’s issue. Men suffer from adrenal fatigue as well. If your guy has any of the symptoms above, and they don’t seem to go away, please make sure he gets a physical. You also don’t have to work a 60+ hour a week career to experience adrenal fatigue. It can be the result of childhood trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, long term illness, loss of a loved one, divorce, job loss, financial crisis, caring for a newborn, anything that causes prolonged stress.
If you think you have adrenal fatigue and/or thyroid imbalance please find an amazing doctor and get a proper checkup. If you are in the New York area, I have the very best Integrative Holistic Internist, Dr. Dana Cohen. You can contact Dr. Cohen at 212.787.1877. Dr. Cohen really helped me on the road to wellness.
I am excited to see Dr. Cohen. I don't have the symptoms above - except maybe the hypoglycemia which turns me into a raging you know what when I don't eat enough - but I am just curious to see what my hormones look like and do! With regard to health, I always think more information is better than less. Thank you, Susan!