Published on July 26th, 2017 | by Dr. Philip DiPasquale0
Healing the Adrenal Fatigue Epidemic
Persistent low energy or exhaustion, despite adequate or even excessive sleep, salt cravings and the inability to handle stress are just a few symptoms of adrenal gland fatigue, also known as hypoadrenia. It has been one of the most prevalent, yet rarely diagnosed conditions in the last 50 years, according to Dr. James L Wilson, author of Adrenal Fatigue. The relatively small adrenal glands are located above the kidneys and secrete many hormones. They are responsible for the conversion of fats and carbohydrates into energy, secreting adrenalin, male/female hormones and even controlling sugar regulation. The main function of these glands is to help the body cope with stress and respond accordingly in a “fight-or-flight” survival scenario.
When extended periods of stress exist, such as financial hardship, divorce, death of a loved one or serious illness, the adrenal glands can become overworked due to the added stress and instability associated with such major life events. A good analogy is a jockey feverishly whipping a horse, but the horse doesn’t have the ability to run any faster and eventually collapses.
Over time, the constant demand for the adrenal glands to produce hormones leads to adrenal exhaustion, and the result can be a serious decline in health. Some commonly known symptoms associated with this condition are frequent colds, respiratory infections, allergies, fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder, diabetes and chronic fatigue syndrome. We can determine if our adrenal glands are healthy using a simple test in which four samples of saliva are taken throughout the day and mailed to a lab, where they are analyzed for the hormone cortisol. Blood tests exist for testing cortisol, but they are not as conclusive for determining adrenal gland fatigue compared to the saliva test.
Once it is determined that a patient is suffering with adrenal gland fatigue, natural remedies include licorice root, Siberian ginseng and a specific combination of vitamins and minerals to help support the glands so they may heal and fully recover. Lifestyle changes also play a large part in resolving adrenal fatigue. There are other, more serious adrenal-related conditions like Addison’s and Cushing syndrome, which are not as common. These require medical intervention and cannot be treated with natural remedies.
Where mainstream medicine is concerned, it appears that adrenal fatigue still remains a largely undiagnosed condition. Doctors that practice integrative medicine, functional medicine or holistic medicine remain far more likely to successfully diagnose and treat adrenal gland fatigue. The saliva test to determine cortisol levels is a sensible place to begin when the telltale symptoms of adrenal fatigue are present.
Philip DiPasquale, DC, owns and operates Bergen Spine and Wellness, in Maywood, NJ. For appointments, call 201-820-1441. For more information, visit BergenSpine.com.