Do one or more of these situations sound familiar?
- Feeling unrefreshed upon waking
- Chronic fatigue and muscle weakness
- Decreased ability to handle stress
- Frequent infections or respiratory illness
- A need for caffeine or sugar to drive yourself
- Cravings for salty and high-fat foods
The adrenal gland produces cortisol, a hormone that is predominantly known for its role in stress reactions. Cortisol influences blood sugar, body weight, bone density, hormones, immunity, and just about every process in our body. In times of stress, cortisol prepares your body to survive whether that means to fight or run. The problem is that our cortisol response does not differentiate between a real danger, such as a burglar, or a perceived one, such as worrying about what someone thinks about you.
Cortisol turns off processes such as reproduction, digestion, sleep, and growth. Chronic elevations are associated with insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease, infertility and poor immune health, which means you may get sick more often and take longer to recover. Eventually under prolonged stress, the adrenals will become exhausted and cortisol levels will plummet. At this stage, the negative results are widespread and chronic disease states likely developed along the way.
Increasingly, patients are feeling stressed and burnt out but it is common to brush this off as an expected reaction to a busy schedule. Although it is true that work, family and a social life can be very demanding, if your adrenals are slacking, every task will seem that much harder and you will not be able to perform at your best. There are a few simple blood tests that we will order to evaluate your adrenal health and many targeted natural therapies that can ultimately bring you back to life.