Fatigue is defined as “an overall feeling of tiredness or lack of energy¹.” While many people confuse this with the feeling of tiredness, the two are extremely different. Tiredness is a normal feeling that can be relieved with a simple nap, meanwhile someone who is fatigued can receive a full night’s rest and still have no energy during the day. Furthermore, a fatigued individual may be subject to body aches, difficulty concentrating, irritability, lack of motivation and headaches. This can be caused by overexertion of the body, inflammation, or other underlying diseases that may require testing for an official diagnosis.
The adrenal glands are small, triangular glands atop of the kidneys. These glands are responsible for hormonal production that regulate metabolism, stress response, blood pressure, and immunity. Adrenal glands handle how our body reacts to stressful situations, and those who are constantly feeling overwhelmed or emotional will eventually wear out these essential glands. This is known as adrenal fatigue, and like normal fatigue, it can bring on similar symptoms such as brain fog, struggling to wake up, increased nighttime energy boosts, and overuse of caffeine. In contrast to regular fatigue (in which most people can tell if they have it), many patients are unaware that they have adrenal fatigue and aren’t conscious of the risks that caused it to develop in the first place.
An article published by Medical News suggests that physical and mental fatigue are vastly different, but can often intertwine or occur together². This means that both conditions can play a significant role in causing each other to develop over a period of time. Since conventional medical practices don’t recognize adrenal fatigue as an official condition, LifeWorks Wellness Center strives to inform its patients of the illness, its symptoms, and its causes. Listed below are a few risk factors that can bring on adrenal fatigue.
As stated previously, the overbearing feeling of stress can overwhelm the adrenal glands and cause a depletion of hormone production. The adrenals control the production of cortisol; the hormone that handles stressors. Those who are exposed to chronic stressful situations such as financial issues, relationship problems, big life changes, dealing with times of uncertainty, overwhelming responsibilities, handling a lot of pressure, or being out of control of a situation can bring on a lot of mental strain. Unfortunately, taking on these things are a big part of being an adult, especially today.
A recent 2020 article published by Healthline reported that Americans between the ages of 45 and 65 are “experiencing more stress today than people their age did in the 1990s³”. This can be due to economic issues, healthcare, politics, or personal expectations not being met. Simultaneously, new young adults are growing up in a world full of social media and computer technology that increases anxiety, perpetuates cyberbullying, and paints an unrealistic viewpoint of adulthood, thus setting them up for failure or ill-preparation. Therefore, to avoid chronic stress, it’s important for individuals to understand how to properly deal with stressful situations without overworking the adrenal glands. This would include setting aside time for relaxation, eating a healthy diet, reading a book, watching a comedy show, exercising, staying off social media, and communicating with close friends and family.
Evidence demonstrates that exposure to environmental toxins such as heavy metals, chemicals, long-term medications, etc. can increase oxidative stress and alter enzyme activity. In turn, this can lead to certain conditions that affect the adrenal glands such as adrenal insufficiency and adrenal fatigue. Therefore, reducing the amount of toxicity can help prevent certain autoimmune diseases such as Addison’s disease and significantly improve adrenal functions. According to the Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (NDNR), “toxic exposures may also affect the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis” by altering glucocorticoid metabolism, the expression receptors or the central nervous system signals to and from the HPA axis4. To prevent environmental toxicity, patients need to establish a few detoxification methods such as new dietary habits, avoiding plastic containers and bottles, and seeking natural cleansing treatments.
It has been shown that certain chronic infections in the system can have an impact on the adrenal functions. Infections induced by fungus, inherited disorders of the endocrine glands or tuberculosis infection of the adrenal glands can affect the amount of cortisol hormones that are produced within the body. This in turn can lead to an autoimmune disease called Addison’s disease that halts the adrenal glands from functioning properly or it could cause adrenal fatigue. Additionally, adrenal fatigue can also affect how one battles chronic infections as the condition can compromise the immune system. In order to prevent this from occurring, one must be vigilant with their health. This means that one must take vital supplements the body needs to sustain a healthy immune system and fight malevolent bacteria. In the end, this will ensure that the adrenal glands stay intact and function as they should.
Preventing Adrenal Fatigue
At LifeWorks Wellness Center, we have experience in treating those with adrenal fatigue and helping others prevent it from occurring. Patients who might be dealing with any of the risks above may need to consult with a LifeWorks practitioner to discuss symptoms, current or past medications, allergies or other conditions. From there, the practitioner will establish a treatment plan to properly prevent the onset of adrenal fatigue or treat the condition.
LifeWorks Wellness Center is a holistic care facility located in Clearwater, Florida. If you or someone that you know are currently dealing with adrenal fatigue or other chronic illnesses, please call to schedule an appointment with one of our practitioners at 727-466-6789.
- Fatigue: Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment & More (healthline.com)
- Fatigue: Why am I so tired, and what can I do about it? (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Why Americans Are More Stressed Today Than They Were in the 1990s (healthline.com)
- Adrenal Fatigue: Environmentally Induced Adrenal Hypofunction? – Naturopathic Doctor News and Review (ndnr.com)