When it comes to frequent feelings of weakness and exhaustion, most people believe it to be a lack of sleep or tiredness. However, sometimes consistent feelings of tiredness and weakness can often signify something more serious is going on within the body. This symptom is called fatigue, and it occurs when an individual has a lack of energy daily. Fatigue can be an indication of several types of conditions and diseases such as:
- cardiovascular disease
- kidney disease
- autoimmune disease
- Lyme disease
- and many more
Interestingly, fatigue that is caused by constant feelings of stress is known as adrenal fatigue. While the two might be used interchangeably, they are actually slightly different.
The purpose of the adrenal glands is to produce hormones such as cortisol, aldosterone, estrogen, adrenaline, and many others. These hormones react to stressors, burn fats and proteins, regulates blood pressure and sugars in the system. However, if one is constantly reacting to stressful situations, this will eventually tire out the adrenal glands and cause a depletion of hormone production or hormonal imbalances. If left untreated, adrenal fatigue can lead to a few chronic conditions. Listed below are a few conditions that can be induced by adrenal fatigue.
Even though adrenal fatigue causes tiredness, it can also make sleeping difficult. Insomnia is a sleep disorder that occurs when one has trouble falling or staying asleep. Naturally, the body runs on something called the circadian rhythm automatically. This is the body’s “clock” that allows adrenal glands to release hormones during a certain time of the day (usually when one is awake and active). Between 9:00 and 10:00pm (depending on the person’s age) the adrenal glands reduce cortisol production (the steroid hormone released as a response to a stressor) to allow someone to settle down for the night. However, someone with adrenal fatigue may have extra cortisol produced than normal during the nighttime hours, making someone feel too energized to sleep. A blog written by Dr. Michael Lam suggested that there is a link between adrenal fatigue and insomnia. Since the adrenal glands play a large role in sleep regulation, Dr. Lam stated that later stages of untreated adrenal fatigue can cause the stress response system to be dysregulated and lead to inflammation within the G.I tract¹. This in turn will lead to other chronic diseases along with an imbalance of hormone levels that will cause one to receive poor quality sleep.
Addison’s disease is an autoimmune condition caused by adrenal insufficiency. Mayo Clinic describes the condition as the adrenal glands “producing too little cortisol and, often, too little aldosterone².” Normally it’s induced by an abnormal immune system that accidentally attacks the adrenal glands and causes a depletion of hormone production. Additionally, it can also be brought on by other chronic diseases such as hypothyroidism or malfunctions in the nervous system. Meanwhile, adrenal fatigue develops over chronic or long-term exposure to emotional distress. While adrenal fatigue is widely associated as a symptom of Addison’s disease, it can also bring on the onset of Addison’s disease. An article produced by FX Medicine claims that chronic life stressors that bring on the onslaught of adrenal fatigue simultaneously inhibit the immune functions. Furthermore, if one with adrenal fatigue continues to experience stressful circumstances, this can negatively impact one’s immunity. The article states, “Chronic stress, with lowered circulating cortisol of a dysfunctional HPA axis, affects the immune system negatively through diminished cytokine and overall immune regulation³.”
While commonly misunderstood by many people due to its different variations, depression is categorized as a “serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act” as stated by the American Psychiatric Association4. Those with this condition tend to have reduced levels of serotonin and increased levels of cortisol throughout their bloodstream. Individuals that suffer from adrenal fatigue have endured long-term emotional distress that eventually caused “fatigue” within the adrenal glands. If it continues untreated, depression can quickly follow suit. As stated previously, the body schedules specific times to deliver hormones into the system. Naturally, a level of cortisol peaks in the morning and gradually decreases throughout the day. However, someone with depression will not experience a reduction in cortisol. Instead, their adrenal glands will continue to produce cortisol, thus causing an imbalance in hormonal levels. A blog produced by Arbor Health explains that depression normally doesn’t occur until the late stages of adrenal fatigue when a burnout of the adrenal gland will cause low libido, restlessness, anxiety, and depression5.
Prevent Chronic Conditions with Adrenal Fatigue Treatment
At LifeWorks Wellness Center, we strive to analyze one’s root cause of their condition rather than just simply eliminating the symptoms. Patients who present with the above conditions, are usually stemmed from adrenal fatigue, therefore we aim to treat their initial condition along with the symptoms that follow suit. When it comes to treating adrenal fatigue, a patient will first sit down with a LifeWorks practitioner to discuss recent symptoms, allergies, current or previous medications, or other conditions that they may have. Based on symptoms, a practitioner will provide a treatment plan that involves supplements, peptides, diet changes, or other therapies such as IVs or ozone. In the end, this will greatly reduce the risk of the patient developing further serious conditions such as the ones listed above.
If you or someone that you know currently has adrenal fatigue, please call to schedule an appointment with a LifeWorks practitioner at 727-466-6789. To learn more about the condition or our treatments, please contact us.