Adrenal fatigue, as most of our readers should know by now, is a malfunctioning of adrenal glands. This malfunctioning leads to the imbalance of some of the major hormones in the body. These hormones control various important functions, but the primary among them is cortisol. Cortisol is directly responsible for managing stress and anxiety levels in the body.
When a patient is suffering from adrenal fatigue, the secretion of cortisol and other major hormones released by the adrenal glands gets malfunctioned. This results in either low, high, or no secretion at all these important hormones in the body. Thus, the continuous malfunctioning of these major hormones results in chronic stress, anxiety, and serious chronic infections such as flu, pneumonia, or bronchitis (source: WebMD).
Additionally, a sufferer of adrenal fatigue will experience a lack of sleep (Insomnia), foggy or dizzy brain, low enthusiasm, frustration, fatigue, and it could even lead to depression if it gets worse. Therefore, suffering from adrenal fatigue is a feeling of utter discomfort and you may not want to become a victim of it. In this detailed narrative, we will tell you the mechanics of adrenal fatigue, how it is caused, and how can you avoid becoming a victim of adrenal fatigue. Let us begin our detailed inspection then!
The Mechanics of Adrenal Glands
Adrenal fatigue, as we have described above, is a condition that causes dysfunction in the adrenal glands. Adrenal glands are situated just at the top of each kidney. The major function of these glands is to secrete hormones that control a lot of important functions in your body. In this chapter, we will give you an overview of how adrenal glands work, what they are made up of, and how they control certain major functions in your body.
To begin properly, let us describe to you a bit about the structure of adrenal glands. Adrenal glands are two small and triangular-shaped glands on top of each kidney. Adrenal glands are made up of two components:
The adrenal cortex – this is the outer region and the largest part of the adrenal gland. This region is divided into three portions: zona reticularis, zona glomerulosa, and zona fasciculata. These three zones are responsible for producing certain hormones such as cortisol, aldosterone, androgenic, and DHEA steroids.
The adrenal medulla – this is the inner part of the adrenal cortex and is the center of adrenal glands. It is responsible for secreting epinephrine and norepinephrine hormones, both of which control the levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline.
The adipose capsule – this is the final part of adrenal glands and it forms a protective layer all around them.
Apart from these hormonal secretions, adrenal glands are responsible for secreting various other hormones that control several important functions in the body as well. Here is a brief overview of each of those hormones secreted by adrenal glands and what they control in a human body:
Adrenaline – this hormone is the regulator of our “fight or flight” response. Adrenaline is secreted from the inner adrenal medulla part of an adrenal gland. Adrenaline is directly responsible for managing heartbeat rate, increasing blood flow, and contraction of muscles and brain.
Noradrenaline – this hormone is also secreted from the adrenal medulla. It is vital in managing glucose levels, controlling blood vessels, and managing blood pressure to formulate a response during distress moments.
Aldosterone – this mineralocorticoid hormone is secreted from the adrenal medulla inside the adrenal cortex and zona glomerulosa. This hormone manages blood pressure and certain types of electrolytes like potassium and sodium. Aldosterone signals the kidneys to absorb sodium in the bloodstream and release potassium via urine. S
Anabolic Steroids – produced in the zona reticularis inside the adrenal cortex, Anabolic (Androgenic) steroids produce male estrogens and female estrogens, the former in male’s testes and the latter in female’s ovaries.
(Information provided by John Hopkins Medicine)
And this was a basic overview of adrenal glands and their importance in our bodies, as well as equal importance about the fact if these glands go malfunctioned. Now, let us take you to our next chapter and learn what happens when our adrenal glands become disordered.
Causes of Adrenal Fatigue & How It Feels
The most common indication of an adrenal gland disorder is its dysfunctional production of the important hormones we have just discussed. When a person is suffering from adrenal gland disorder, such as adrenal fatigue, it drastically disrupts the entire system of this gland and results in either low, high, or no hormone production at all.
This is a serious condition to deal with because a disruption in the production of major hormones, such as cortisol, aldosterone, adrenaline, and androgenic, means that functions dealing with reproduction to the circulatory system and stress management are all affected badly. This harmful disruption can bring a lot of devastating consequences for the body. For example:
- Chronic infections (pneumonia, flu, bronchitis, etc.)
- Chronic stress and anxiety
- Foggy, dizzy, or “gray” cognitive ability
- Insomnia or sleep deprivation
- Muscular tension or extreme fatigue
- Low motivation, lack of concentration and focus
- Weak immunity
- Cardiac and blood circulation issues
- Dysfunctional sugar (glucose) levels
And wit late detection and worsening condition, things can even elevate to even further dangers for your health such as tumors or cancer. To be able to fight off this danger caused by the malfunctioning of adrenal glands, it is imperative for all of us to fully understand the causes behind most common adrenal disorders, such as adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue starts to take its toll on your health when you live an unhealthy and distressing lifestyle. As we have mentioned before in most of our blogs, adrenal fatigue is the direct result of encountering stress continuously and making unhealthy choices in life. Expert chiropractors and naturopaths have divided the entire cycle of adrenal fatigue in four stages. The sufferer of this condition will go through each of the four stages of adrenal fatigue before finally becoming a victim of adrenal exhaustion. Here is a brief description of the four stages of adrenal fatigue and how it will impact you in each one:
Stage 1 – this is when we continuously push ourselves above the line and become too much stressed. The adrenal glands will go awry and starts to secrete large amounts of cortisol, DHEA, insulin, and adrenaline. Your body will feel the side-effects of this much hormonal secretion in the form of fatigue, lack of enthusiasm, and tiredness.
Stage 2 – the second stage of adrenal fatigue in which high-levels of cortisol will constantly bombard our bodies while the DHEA levels will significantly decline at this time. During this period, the patient will suffer extreme fatigue and tiredness and it will become exceedingly hard for the body to recover from fatigue in the normal way. Additionally, the person may suffer from digestive issues, body ache, nervousness, and high blood pressure, among other things.
Stage 3 – The rise in the production of stress hormones will continue at a rapid pace. The DHEA hormones will continue to decrease in production. Your lack of enthusiasm will be elevated more and more, as well as regular infections in the body will start to appear. Additionally, chronic anxiety and depression will take root and the muscles in our body start to break down in performance.
Stage 4 – This is the advanced stage of adrenal fatigue in which a person will experience a complete failure of the adrenal glands, also known as adrenal crash or burnout. During this final period of adrenal fatigue, the person will suffer from lack of sex drive, anxiety, depression and almost losing his/her interest in the daily chores of life. Along with these drastic alterations in health, continuous restlessness and irritation will drastically affect the behavioral pattern, and a chronic mode of depression sets in.
How to Prevent Adrenal Fatigue?
The prevention of adrenal fatigue depends largely upon a healthy lifestyle and diet. The biggest cause of adrenal fatigue lies in a stressful routine and lack of healthy nutrition. If a person wants to live an adrenal-fatigue-free life, they should opt for a diet that is rich in probiotics, green vegetables, and a lifestyle that offers minimum to none stressors.
Additionally, adrenal health supplements are also another great way to reduce your chances of suffering from adrenal fatigue, and or other adrenal gland disorders. There are tons of information available on the web these days on what to eat for any specific condition or to avoid a condition at all: avail the benefits which a smartphone offers in this digital age.
Like all other diseases, adrenal fatigue can be cured and avoided as well, and that comes, like everything else in life, with some dedicated effort on our end. So, let us make a vow of beating adrenal fatigue and avoiding everything which contributes to this problematic disease at all costs. This will help us live life at its fullest and will also enable us to contribute towards building and cherishing the lives of our loved ones.