So I have adrenal fatigue. I have known about it for about 9 months now, and even though it seemed a miracle diagnosis (finally! I know WHY I am so freakin’ tired all the time!), it can be an overwhelming issue to deal with. It can take years to get your adrenals back on track, depending on how fatigued they are. I’d like to talk a little about Adrenal Fatigue if that’s ok with you. 🙂
Adrenal Fatigue is one of the most misdiagnosed health issues going on today. It is a syndrome that many doctors don’t fully understand, some don’t even really believe in, yet many many people (it is estimated as much as 50% of the population are adrenally fatigued to some extent) are suffering daily, and don’t know why.
My story begins with having my first child, almost 7 years ago. I was tired, duh – new mom syndrome!, full of anxiety, couldn’t lose the baby weight. A year and a half later I was pregnant again and this cycle continued. I felt tired, stiff, not well rested ever, I had this feeling just that something was wrong. Now, I WAS able to finally lose the weight, but it was extremely difficult and I have often wondered at the fact that if I go off my nutrition for so much as a week BAM, I gain a couple pounds. Enter Adrenal Fatigue (AF). Now obviously I am not a doctor, nor do I have any medical training. But I have done a lot of research, have and am going through this personally, and have worked with many clients with adrenal issues. So take this article however you like, with as big a grain of salt as you like. Below is a list of common symptoms – any of them look familiar?
-not feeling rested even after a good sleep
-difficulty losing weight, unexplained weight gain
-food cravings (sugar/salty)
-increase in or severe PMS symptoms (in women)
-Sick more often, takes longer to recover
-generally feeling unwell
-losing hair, changes in skin & nails
Here is a quote which neatly explains AF in a nutshell, and why it is such an important condition to recognize. **source:http://www.peertrainer.com/health/adrenal-fatigue.aspx
Adrenal fatigue (also called adrenal exhaustion or adrenal insufficiency) is very common, yet often goes undiagnosed. It typically begins due to chronic, unmanaged stress which exhausts the adrenals. Cortisol, the stress hormone, rages through your system continuously, which also raises your blood sugar levels.
An increase in blood sugar leads to insulin resistance (the precursor to diabetes), higher cholesterol levels, and more. This can also impact your thyroid, as well as impacting your libido, menstruation, energy, memory, fertility, and metabolism.
Chronically high blood sugar levels also cause inflammation, which is the root cause of nearly every chronic illness, condition, and disease you can think of. All of these symptoms can lead to chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease, for example, while speeding up the aging process as you lose your energy, enjoyment, and quality of life.
Yuck, right? This is a big deal!!!
So what can we do?
The best thing to do is sit down and have a good talk with your health care practitioner of choice. Personally I recommend a naturopath or a chiropractor, but go to whoever you trust. In the mean time there are changes you can start making right now that will help get you on the road to recovery. Honestly, even if you DON’T have adrenal fatigue issues, these are all things that will benefit your health regardless!(This is not a complete list as AF can affect each person differently.)
1. NUTRITION. eliminate caffeine and as much sugar & refined carbs as possible. Eat breakfast every day and eat regularly throughout the day.
2. EXERCISE. Exercising regularly is always good for your health and is a great place to start for improving adrenal function. Start slow and listen to your body as you adjust to a new exercise routine.
3. SUPPLEMENTS. There aren’t any medications slotted for treating adrenal fatigue, but your health care practitioner may recommend supplements or herbal treatments to help ease some of your symptoms so your body can begin to heal itself. My Chiropractor had me on a herbal regimine to reduce the inflammation throughout my body caused by AF so that I could start addressing the AF itself. It worked very well for me, but something different may work well for you. Best thing to do is ask the expert.
4.SLEEP. This is a no brainer, but there is evidence to support going to bed before 11pm to help treat adrenal fatigue.
5.STRESS MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES. Because AF is caused by stress, we need to figure out a way to reduce it. Now, if you are anything like me, the stresses of my job, being a mother, running a household etc are not going to be going anywhere anytime soon. So I have to find ways to help me cope with my stress better so that I am not as affected. Things like learning to let go of things that don’t really matter, treating myself to a massage or other things to help replenish my spirit, spending time laughing with friends and family, etc etc.
This is really something I need to take better care of in myself. Between working full time, 2 kids under 7 & all their activities, trying to get my own fitness in there, a husband who works opposite shifts so is never home when I am, it can be hard to deal with my stress. It’s not always even bad stress, it’s just……a LOT. But I don’t want what now may be some adrenal fatigue to later turn into some serious health issues!
Making a promise to start spending some time, every day, even if it is only 30 minutes, on doing something good for myself. Whether it’s some yoga in the afternoon, enjoying a tea by myself on the patio, or going out with a friend, I need to focus more on my health, and enjoying little things in your life can be beneficial to your health!
I challenge you to set aside 30 minutes of your day, every day to focus on something that brings you happiness. 🙂 It can’t hurt, right?