Stress and the Adrenal Glands

The adrenals are 2 pea size glands that are attached to the top of both kidneys.  They play a major role in your daily energy.  The adrenal glands are associated with the following:

1) production of sex hormones

2) regulating water and salt balance

3)  control blood pressure

4) “fight and flight” stress response.

Stress may be the single most overlooked cause of many health concerns.  Ongoing stress causes our adrenal glands to be dysfunctional.  This is a cumulative effect on the adrenal glands so continuous stresses overtime will result in the adrenal glands to get “burned out”.  Since the adrenal glands store and use 70% of our vitamin C, adrenal dysfunction or ADRENAL FATIGUE, as we like to call this condition, will result in a weakened immune system.  Patients usually go through three phases on the way to weakened adrenal glands:

Phase 1- patients are wired all the time

Phase 2- patients are wired and tired at the same time

Phase 3- patients are tired all the time

Common symptoms associated with adrenal dysfunction include fatigue, weight gain, anxiety, brain fog, poor sleep, night sweats, joint pain and soreness especially after workouts, hot flashes, decreased libido and general washed out feeling.

The adrenal glands are the major producer of adrenaline and cortisol.  Cortisol is the “flight or fight” stress hormone designed to meet our demands for survival of life.  Excessive amounts of cortisol are produced when we are continually stressed, have poor sleep, have poor health, and do excessive workouts.  Cortisol is produced in access with high carbohydrate and sugar diets.  After a period of continued over production of cortisol, the gland slowly reduces production paving the way for adrenal fatigue

Two ways the doctors at Canby Clinic evaluate patients for adrenal fatigue by having them answer an adrenal fatigue questionnaire and with an adrenal stress index salivary test.  The adrenal salivary test evaluates the patients’ cortisol levels over a 24 hour period to ascertain dysfunctional cyclical patterns.

Adrenal fatigue is usually not treated with drugs or medications.  There are many other treatments including improving sleep, proper diet and nutritional support, avoiding simple carbohydrates and sugars as well as supplementing with vitamin C.   The doctors at Canby Clinic can prescribe many supplements for adrenal support, that are available at the clinic, to help heal the adrenals.  Rebuilding adrenal function is a slow and steady process, but can be very successful.

In summary, Adrenal fatigue is very common.  To find out if adrenal fatigue is contributing to your health symptoms, call our office for an evaluation.

-Dr. Harris Waters