the 411 on Adrenal fatigue
Learn how chronic stress impacts our adrenal glands and what to do about it.
Urban Dictionary defines stress as : “the one thing everyone has and no one wants, stress is a complete A**hole…”. Although it may seem synonymous with “adulting”, babies, kids, pets, are all vulnerable to stress — and its not “just a feeling” either…
The “fight or flight” response can be necessary for survival - like for example having to outrun a predator. The Stress Reaction releases hormones allowing us to kick it into high gear, that adrenaline boost needed to fight, or get the heck out of there. Deadlines, work, bills, kids, relationship problems...there are lots of things out of our control that stress us out. As the list of triggers expands, our ability to “turn off” stress diminishes . Thankfully most of us can scratch outrunning wild animals off the list, but are we becoming our own worst enemies in the uphill battle against stress?
Before we know it, short term stress is no longer so short term … Short Term Stress is handled by our adrenal glands — they’re responsible for producing those infamous stress hormones known as cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol’s responsibilities extend beyond helping us deal with stress, it is also used to regulate multiple processes in the body - things like immunity, metabolism, and even getting up in the morning. While high levels of cortisol may be vital when we “can’t even," they may also be the reason for that high sugar, high carb indulgence.
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF HIGH CORTISOL LEVELS
- Blood Sugar Imbalances
- Low Thyroid Function
- High Blood Pressure
- Rapid Weight Gain
- Muscle Weakness
- Mood Swings
- Digestion Issues
Even slightly elevated cortisol levels can impact your ability to absorb vitamins and minerals from food, causing an increase in your already increased appetite. The more demand placed on your adrenals to pump out cortisol and adrenaline, the more exhausted they become. Stress of feeling rushed, running late, or being under pressure, can be constant enough to be chronic. If you’re feeling like you need to kick off your shoes and relax awhile...think about how your adrenal glands must feel!
The effects of Chronic Stress can result in overworked adrenal glands. Drained from producing stress hormones, your adrenals are worn out and fatigued! Adrenal Fatigue or “burn out” can feel like exactly that- being totally burned out. Exhaustion, weight loss or gain, low blood pressure/light headedness, hair loss, even the inability to see results of our fitness efforts, are all symptoms due to chronic stress.
The Stress Response is blind to the type of stress we experience. Too much physical stress can cause the same chemical reaction as the stress of paying your rent on time. Research has found that the long term effect of stress can lead to heart attack, stroke, mental disorders, and even cancer. But try not to stress out about stress! Instead, what can you do to manage or your stress levels? Practice meditation and deep breathing, maintain proper nutrition and exercise, and don’t sweat the small stuff! Develop coping skills to call upon in times of stress and support the health of your adrenals!
For more information on the symptoms of stress, and adrenal fatigue, stay tuned to our blog. We’ll be posting more on the common physical stress caused by overtraining, strategies for healing your adrenals and learning how to just chill-out.