What is adrenal fatigue?
Adrenal Fatigue is a term used to denote a group of symptoms, also referred to as a syndrome, which indicate that the adrenal glands are not functioning properly. Adrenal fatigue is not defined by any single easily identifiable symptom. It is likely to be present when a person with no signs of any physical illness has a long lasting feeling of being tired and functioning at a level that is below what they were able to achieve earlier and which affects the quality of their lives.
The adrenal glands release hormones your body needs to cope with stress. These hormones control energy production, heart rate, muscle response, and other metabolic functions that allow the body to respond to any stressful situation, whether it is emotional as in the case of loss of a loved one, physical as when an injury occurs or mental such as work pressures. When the adrenal glands function below the level needed to manage the stress, adrenal fatigue occurs. Adrenal fatigue can be caused by a major occurrence or by repeated lower stress levels.
Who is at risk?
Adrenal fatigue can affect anyone. Any severe injury, life crisis or continuing low or medium level stress situation can cause it irrespective of the physical health of the person. However, there are some lifestyle situations that increase the chances of suffering from this condition. These include substance abuse, side effects of prescription medication, improper diet, inadequate sleep and relaxation, chronic illness and prolonged exposure to a stressful situation. The stress of pregnancy can also be a cause.
The most common symptoms of adrenal fatigue are:
- A continuous feeling of tiredness.
- Waking up feeling run down even after a full night's sleep.
- A lowered ability to cope with stressful situations.
- Taking a very long time to recover from an injury, illness, or a stressful situation.
- A feeling of being more alert and energetic in the evening and at night.
- A craving for sweet and salty foods and the need for high levels of caffeine to continue to function throughout the day.