Adrenal Fatigue is at the root of most disease development! Find out the causes and what to do about it in this comprehensive article by Dr. Teresa Rispoli, PhD. LAc.
Do you find yourself running on empty, cant fall asleep or wake during the night? Are you having difficulty losing weight, especially around the waistline? Have you been recently diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes? Do you have depression, anxiety or poor immune health? Are you having menstrual cycle changes, loss of libido, hair loss, poor thyroid function?
Well you are not alone, millions of Americans are experiencing much of the same decline in their health due to unrelenting stress. After all we just made it through the "Great Recession."
Its been a difficult time for everyone, unfortunately your health has been affected by the chronic stress you have had to endure.
Chronic stress is at the center of adrenal fatigue and adrenal fatigue is at the root of most disease development because your adrenal glands control your entire body.
They regulate sleep wake cycles, inflammatory response, digestion, cardiovascular health, neurological balance, electrolyte balance, blood sugar usage, production of sex hormones, and adrenal hormones. They help your body adapt to stressful situations rapidly. So when you are exposed to chronic stress, all of the above mentioned biological functions will be impacted and over time result in progressing symptoms of disease.
This adaptation to chronic stress results in changes to your biological chemistry ranging from a mild headache to a cardiovascular event!
DO YOU HAVE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING SYMPTOMS OF ADRENAL FATIGUE?
Insomnia (falling asleep or staying asleep)
Fatigue upon waking
Afternoon fatigue (between 2p.mp to 4 p.m.)
Surges of energy around 6 p.m.
Lack of energy
Feel overwhelmed or exhausted
Cravings for salty and high fat foods or sugar cravings
Light-headedness upon waking
Increased PMS or menopausal symptoms
Inability to lose weight
Frequent sickness- sore throats, colds, flu
I bet if you said yes to any of the above you probably think you need hormones.
Well bio-identical hormones are not the answer. You see your adrenal glands are responsible for regulating hormones in your endocrine system. That means all the hormones. And the body runs its endocrine system via a negative feedback loop. When one signal if off, it will affect all the other hormones being released. While the primary hormones released from the adrenals are norepinephrine, epinephrine, cortisol, aldosterone, and dopamine, the adrenal also produce sex hormones progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA. When the body is under chronic stress it uses up specific vitamins, minerals, and amino acids needed to support each and every body function, eventually these hormones become imbalanced in order to save the body from the stressful "threat."
Your Body's Response to a Charging Wolf- Think of it this way. In the instant you perceive a threat you decide to run, at this moment your entire body changes its biochemistry. Your adrenal glands release epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol in response to stress, which gives you the feeling of an adrenaline rush. Your heart rate increases, helping your eyes focus as your body anticipates running. Your body then begins raising your blood sugar by converting stored energy into glucose so you can run. This conversion requires help from your liver, so it stops detoxification to help with the acute threat. The norepinephrine raises your blood pressure by constricting your blood vessels so you can access your muscles to run. Your GI system slows and blood leaves that area so it can be utilized elsewhere and food stagnates. In fact by the time you stop running you forget how you got there or what you saw along the way.
So now you can begin to appreciate how intricate the adrenal response is at regulating all areas of the body.
Hormone Imbalances Caused By Stress Effect Your Body's Functions- Cortisol is a hormone released by your adrenals during stressful times, it impacts how your body converts fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into energy. It regulates blood pressure and cardiovascular function and your sleep wake cycle. The release of cortisol wakes you up in the morning. So it should be highest in the morning and lowest before sleep. If you are having insomnia your cortisol is most likely elevated in the evening,(not a good sign). If you are having difficulty waking then your cortisol is to low in the am indicating severe adrenal fatigue. When your cortisol in high at night it spikes insulin and insulin is a fat storage hormone which causes weight gain around the waistline. Cortisol also promotes inflammation and lowers blood calcium levels, affecting bone health. Aldosterone on the other hand helps maintain your body's mineral balance via sodium and potassium, and adjusts your blood pressure according to the situation. When elevated, aldosterone will excrete potassium into your urine and increase sodium levels in your blood, resulting in high blood pressure from sodium retention and muscle weakness from low potassium. Sex hormones are also produced by the adrenal glands. Chronic stress causes hormone imbalances in progesterone and testosterone because they are highly regulated by your adrenal glands. Deficient levels of progesterone and testosterone can lead to estrogen dominance, which can cause uterine fibroids, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome and estrogen-fueled-cancers. Chronically elevated norepinephrine is a possible cause of numerous diseases, such as lupus, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, atrial fibrillation, and macular degeneration. Your brain and how it functions are highly dependent on the proper balance between excitatory and calming neurotransmitters, which also require the proper balance of vitamins, amino acids and minerals.
When people come to me with some of the above symptoms I usually test their adrenals and neurotransmitters so I can determine what stage of adrenal fatigue they are in. There are four stages. The The New Adrenal Stress Profile accurately measures unbound levels of both cortisol and DHEA, and provides a complete circadian analysis of cortisol activity. Imbalances of which are associated with ailments ranging from obesity and menstrual disorders to immune deficiency and increased risk of cardiovascular disease as well as fatigue and insomnia as mentioned before. Then there is the HPA Adrenal/Neurotransmitter test. HPA Profile: Provides measurement of 6 primary urinary neurotransmitters: Serotonin, GABA, Glutamate, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Epinephrine. Salivary Adrenal Hormones are also measured: 4 timed Cortisols and 2 DHEAs. This test is helpful with those experiencing, anxiety, depression, poor focus, as well a adrenal symptoms.
At this point I recommend acupuncture for stress reduction once or twice weekly for two to three months. Acupuncture is a powerful treatment for stress reduction because during the acupuncture treatment pain modulators and endorphins are released, reducing cortisol and promoting a strong sense of relaxation. There is nothing more effective for stress reduction than acupuncture. So be sure to schedule your treatments soon.
Once I know what stage of adrenal fatigue you are in we can begin the road to recovery. If you imagine your body as an onion, with a core and multiple layers, it is imperative that each layer be addressed individually and in the right order. Typically, a patient will present with a primary symptom, such as insomnia. By starting with that layer and supporting the adrenal glands while addressing the insomnia, we can begin to peel away the layers. Once the insomnia is resolved , another "layer" may flare up, and at that point it must be addressed. If the adrenal glands are treated throughout the process "peeling of the onion," we will eventually reach the core. The result is that you cure the disease.
Your symptoms are a guide to the core reason why you feel out of balance. Don't ignore them! We carry in stock specific formulas to address each stage of adrenal fatigue as well as key issues like insomnia, poor focus, mood swings, hot flashes, weight gain. Let a trained professional guide you and take the guess work and added expense out of your road to recovery.
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Dr. Rispoli has 25 years of clinical experience in Wellness Counseling, and will help guide you to make the right choices for your individual needs. Teresa Rispoli will work with you to teach you which program is right for you so you can make informed decisions regarding your health.
Dr. Rispoli has a PhD. in Nutrition, a Master in Naturopathy and Oriental Medicine and is a Licensed Acupuncturist. She is the founder and Director for Complete Health. She will find the root of your health issues and personalize a health building program to help you reach your goal of vibrant health.
your Wellness Consultation today with
For Inner Health and Outer Beauty,
Rispoli, Ph.D., L.Ac.
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