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Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms

Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms

Adrenal fatigue is not considered to be a proven medical condition. It refers to a group of symptoms such as unexplained fatigue, trouble waking up in the morning, trouble falling asleep at night, body aches, etc. This HealthHearty write-up provides information on this condition.
Rutuja Jathar
Adrenal glands are triangular-shaped glands that lie above the kidneys. These glands are responsible for the production of essential hormones such as cortisol, aldosterone, and catecholamines (adrenaline and noreadrenaline). Basically, adrenal glands control the body's response to stress. If these glands are unable to perform their functions, it could give rise to a host of untoward effects. The medical community doesn't recognize adrenal fatigue as a medical condition. It refers to a collection of symptoms that are attributed to poor adrenal gland function in individuals affected by long-term mental, emotional, or physical stress.

According to the supporters of this theory, adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands lose their ability to produce the required amount of cortisol or other steroidal hormones. Adrenal fatigue should not be confused with adrenal insufficiency, which is a recognized medical condition that is caused by damage to the adrenal glands or a problem with the pituitary gland (pea-sized gland that stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol). The causes and symptoms of these conditions are listed out in the following sections.
Contributing Factors and Symptoms
Stress is the main cause of adrenal fatigue, and prolonged mental or physical stress could occur due to a wide range of reasons. For instance, a person affected by a chronic illness, recurring infections, or emotional stress due to unhealthy relationships, stressful job, financial problems, etc., could become susceptible to adrenal fatigue. Under such circumstances, he/she is likely to experience the following symptoms:

Feeling tired for no reason
Having trouble getting up in the morning, even when one goes to bed at a reasonable hour
Feeling run down or overwhelmed
Facing difficulty while recovering from stress or illness
Craving for sweets or salty snacks
Adrenal Insufficiency
Adrenal insufficiency occurs when the adrenal glands are unable to produce sufficient amounts of cortisol and aldosterone. Also known as the stress hormone, cortisol is produced by the body in response to stress. It helps maintain homeostasis in the body. It plays a role in the metabolism of blood sugar, regulation of blood pressure, immune function, etc. On the other hand, aldosterone regulates the amount of salt, potassium, and water in the body. If the adrenal glands are unable to function properly, it might give rise to the following symptoms:

Unusual fatigue
Muscle weakness
Dizziness when standing
Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea
Loss of appetite
Low blood pressure
Loss of body hair
Weight loss
Dark tanning of the skin
Craving for salt

Besides a physical examination and analysis of the patient's medical history, certain diagnostic tests can be conducted for diagnosing adrenal insufficiency. These include ACTH test and insulin-induced hypoglycemia test.
Since adrenal fatigue is linked to stress, it's advisable to follow relaxation techniques for stress relief. Meditation, visualization techniques, and yoga can prove beneficial. Also, one must follow a healthy diet that would help strengthen the immune system and increase one's energy levels. Mental and physical stress that is caused by illnesses can be resolved by following drug therapy and other recommended treatment options.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.