Have you ever faced a situation when you are having some symptoms but there has been no cause. Even after visiting the doctor & going through a medical examination, you were told that everything is fine. However you know that something is not right! So you must be wondering what is wrong with your body.
You are actually suffering from Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome(AFS)! It is difficult to identify & diagnose AFS through regular tests. If you visit a doctor & tell that you are suffering from AFS, they would not believe that such thing exists. You may be having symptoms, but doctors sometimes fail to understand what is going on & give you antidepressant for stress & anxiety. But this is not going to fix the problem.
So what actually is causing this? STRESS!
Our body is evolving! It tries to maintain a healthy balance & can even tackle small stress or depression. However if the stress is extreme or long term, out body is not able to maintain a balance & we start experiencing fatigue, anxiety, pain, aches, thyroid problems & many other symptoms.
So what are reasons for Stress:
- Environmental & Industrial Toxins
- Poor & Unhealthy diet
- Lack of sleep
- Not having sufficient vitamins & minerals
- Hormonal Imbalance
- Leaky gut
Initially we shall feel tired, restless sleep, trouble focusing, anxiety or possibly loss of appetite. If these symptoms are for a short term, it’s perfectly fine since your body will maintain a balance & take care of such changes. However, if its prolonged, your body will start experiencing imbalances. For some folks, stress is not easily recognized. AFS comes when you start pushing yourself too hard, do not take time to take care of yourself. To top it all you may face a stressful event of illness which pushes you in the range of hormonal & other imbalances.
When you reach this stage, your body increases cortisol & adrenaline production. This can result in fluctuations in blood sugar level, weight gain & even impacts sex drive( either lessens or non-existent). Some other issues include : your body may experience inflammation, negatively impact auto immune function & digestion system. This also increases craving for certain foods to help you feel better for a small period of time but it results in weight & fat gain. This results in inflammation.
The body trying to maintain balance, reroutes hormones from the reproductive system to make more cortisol. Besides, extra adrenaline leads to digestive disturbance such as gas, bloating, irritable bowel movement, inflammation of gut lining which leads to leaky gut. The body then starts to reduce cortisol & adrenaline production. This further worsens inflammation level. Aches, pain & exhaustion are common. Many may crash in the afternoon & may look at caffeine & sugar to help them get through the rest of the day. If left long term, AFS can lead to diabetes, autoimmune diseases or infertility.
We are discussing below four levels of AFS:
- Alarm reaction: In this stage, you will experience stress & body will try to reduce stress by calling adrenal glands to work harder. You will feel tired but not that much to impact your everyday life.
- Resistance: If you are experiencing stress for a longer period of time, the body is not able to keep up the extra cortisol production & it may reach back to normal level however other hormones may still be high. As this continues over the long run, your body starts making cortisol at a steady pace while other hormones production may decline. At this point, cortisol level may start to become off-balance. If you have a healthy body, your cortisol level would be high during the morning which helps you to get up & carry out your daily activities. The level falls down in the evening. In the second stage of AFS, your body will feel tired & you would like to take a nap.
- Adrenal Exhaustion: It can take some years for you to reach this level or sometimes it happens suddenly. In any case, in this stage your hormones are completely unbalanced & you will feel tired most of the time. Sleep or rest is not going to help much. You are experiencing serious fatigue, blood sugar, and blood pressure issues, anxiety & dizziness,.You may also feel like you can’t make it through your day.
- Failure: Under this stage, you would need medical attention however since adrenal fatigue is not recognized as a condition, your doctor most likely will not consider it. It is not uncommon for people to experience weight loss, nausea, depression,vomiting, electrolyte imbalance, and dehydration.
So how do you tackle AFS?
- Evaluate all commitments: The first step should be to evaluate your responsibilities & other aspects of life that may be causing stress. Focus on taking small steps to change such a situation. You should be prepared to say no to activities which can cause stress or depression on a long term basis
- Track your changes: Once you have implemented the changes, keep track of changes you made & see the impact of those changed in you body & how you feel
- Lifestyle Changes: The most important aspect to reduce/eliminate AFS is embracing a healthy lifestyle change by:
- Eating healthy foods: Consume plenty of green veggies, complex carbs, proteins with high nutrient density.
- Prioritize your sleep: Get sufficient sleep to keep your hormone levels normal. Check out our blog on circadian cycle.
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PS: Originally published on www.thesushantkumar.com