Kim is a high-energy, 50 year-old working mother of four and competitive athlete. A few years ago, she found herself suddenly struggling to get out of bed every morning. She had never experienced this level of exhaustion before, and knew something was wrong.
It turns out Kim’s adrenal glands weren’t functioning properly. She was suffering from Adrenal Dysfunction, also known as Adrenal Fatigue.
What is Adrenal Dysfunction?
The adrenal glands control our body’s response to physical, mental, and emotional stressors. They also help regulate blood sugar, energy, libido, salt/fluid levels, mood, sleep/wake cycles and more. Sometimes, when we experience high levels of daily stress or a severe stressor (like the loss of a loved one), the adrenal glands begin to produce less and less of the hormones we need. This causes us to feel tired despite adequate sleep, or to struggle with falling or staying asleep. We can also experience weight gain, water retention, mood disorders and a host of other symptoms. Adrenal dysfunction is a condition that affects millions.
Testing for adrenal fatigue involves a simple saliva test, which checks cortisol levels at four different times throughout the day. This allows a physician to see whether the adrenal glands are producing enough cortisol at the appropriate times.
There are a variety of methods for treating adrenal dysfunction. They may include diet, botanical medicines, adrenal-specific nutrients, blood-sugar stabilization, and thyroid support. In some cases, bio-identical medications are used to replace the hormones. A doctor may also examine factors such as sleep patterns, sleep quality, exercise, the timing and content of meals, and stress management.