Adrenal Fatigue is typically a stress-induced condition caused by either a traumatic event or a prolonged or extreme stress. Initially the body will create a fight or flight response but with a prolonged, extreme stress or trauma, the fight or flight response does not dissipate leading to Adrenal Fatigue. The adrenal glands and HPA axis become depleted and disregulated after a long period of emotional stress or chronic illness.
This strain on the adrenal glands will eventually lead to lower levels of a number of hormones and neurotransmitters, changes that can affect every single part of your body. Every individual with Adrenal Fatigue tends to have a slightly different set of symptoms which is why there are over 40 symptoms. However, the top 7 are a great indicator that a deeper look into Adrenal Fatigue is needed.
The 7 most common symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue are....
Inability to handle stress
Insomnia coupled with extreme morning or daytime fatigue
Difficulty waking in the morning
Getting sick more often or staying sick longer
Craving salty foods
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
1. Inability to handle stress
As adrenal fatigue worsens so will the difficulty of handling stress. This is often times the piece of the puzzle that causes a person to begin looking into their symptoms. Do you find that the slightest amount of stress makes you feel overwhelmed? Do you often feel that you should be able to handle something but can't? If the answer is yes, you may be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue.
2. Insomnia coupled with extreme morning or daytime fatigue
This can often be worked around in early stages by consuming high amounts of stimulants such as coffees but eventually even that will run out. Most suffers of Adrenal fatigue think they just are busy, tired or overdoing it. They often push themselves by adding in some type of product to combat the fatigue. However, energy drinks, coffee, teas and sometimes even herbs can be a factor pushing their Adrenal Fatigue into a more advanced stage.
3. Difficulty waking in the morning
It is not too surprising that after having insomnia the next morning you may have trouble waking. That is why this symptoms is so commonly overlooked. However, the cause may not simply be the previous late night. Adrenal fatigue will alter the hormone levels leading to a difficult morning routine. Have you found that it is harder to wake up in the morning? Could you pull off a late night previously but still wake up to meet the day but are now dragging consistently? If so, this symptoms is definitely worth paying attention to.
4. Irritability and Moodiness
Ok, so everyone can have a bad day once in awhile but if this is happening more often than not or in a heightened manner then it needs a second look. With Adrenal Fatigue this symptom may start small with extra frustration, snapping at loved ones or needing to walk away from conversations earlier than normal. However, as Adrenal Fatigue progresses this symptom likely will progresses too and can result in full blown anger episodes that leave you feeling confused by your own reactions. If this rings true for you then Adrenal Fatigue could very well be the culprit.
5. Getting sick more often or staying sick longer
A lowered immune system is quite common for those suffering from Adrenal Fatigue due to the hormonal shifts and long standing fight or flight response. When the human body is under stress it will shut down other processes in the body in order to give the focus needed to handle the stress. One of these physiological responses is lowering the immune system. That often increases your risk of falling ill or staying ill longer. If Adrenal Fatigue is the cause then addressing it is the only solution. Upping Vitamin C, taking Zinc and all the other beautiful natural remedies to boost the immune system is great but without addressing the stress it may not be effective.
6. Craving salty foods
Yum! Chips, popcorn, Chinese food.... Um, is it a craving or is it Adrenal Fatigue rearing it's ugly head? If you keep finding yourself reaching for that salty snack at lunch or right before bed when you previously didn't then it might be Adrenal Fatigue. This is another indication that adrenal fatigue might be a concern. The cortex is responsible for producing aldosterone, which is a mineralocorticoid that works with the kidney to regulate our fluid and mineral excretion. When you have Adrenal Fatigue, you'll produce less aldosterone and begin to excrete large amounts of minerals in your urine. This can lead to frequent urination, further depleting your minerals which eventually leads to cravings for salty foods.
7. Difficulty concentrating
This symptom rarely makes it to the top of the list but it is all too common and can be one of the symptoms that sparks the search for answers. I know, because it is what sparked my interest. I always prided myself on my ability to concentrate past noise and movement (we have 8 kids) but a day came where I began making mistakes with simple tasks due to my inability to stay focused. Yep, I've been there and done that with every one of these symptoms so if you are having trouble concentrating I get it. This once again is caused by the hormone fluctuations happening the the Adrenal Fatigued body.
So, how did you do?
If you said "That's me" to 3 or more of these symptoms you might have Adrenal Fatigue.