Do you feel tired even after a full night of sleep? Are you exhausted even when you’re not doing much? If any extra unnecessary physical activity seems impossible, that may indicate a health problem. Adrenal insufficiency and chronic stress may cause something called “the 21st-century stress syndrome” or adrenal fatigue.
This term is not an official medical diagnosis, but it is used to describe a group of related symptoms that occur when the adrenal glands do not function properly. Compare your symptoms with our list to see if you need to consult an endocrinologist and check your adrenal glands.
- Loss of appetite and weight
Struggling with stress can cause your appetite to decrease and subsequently lose weight. This is not an emergency yet. When you deal with stress factors, your eating habits quickly get back to normal. Pay extra attention when your desires for food become unusual, and your weight is changing radically. Rapid weight loss (even if you’re eating) indicate problems with your adrenal glands.
A striking symptom of adrenal fatigue may be a clear craving for food, especially sweet or very salty products. Low blood sugar leads to a decrease in energy and this can cause a craving for sweets. The love of highly salty foods is due to a decrease in mineralocorticoids in the kidneys – hormones that affect carbohydrate metabolism.
- Low blood pressure
Low blood pressure, or hypotension, can also be caused by adrenal fatigue. This leads to weakness in the whole body, dizziness, or even fainting. If you have not experienced cardiovascular disease before, and low pressure is usually not typical for you- it makes sense to undergo an additional examination.
- Rapid changes in moods
Adrenal fatigue can be accompanied by problems with your mood, impaired cognitive ability, and concentration. Depression for no obvious reason, anxiety, and foggy head are signs of adrenal fatigue.
- Pain in muscles and joints
Adrenal fatigue can also make your body feel weaker than usual. Low levels of cortisol lead to muscle weakness, as well as pain in muscles or joints, so keep these symptoms in mind.
- Sleep disorders
Difficulty falling asleep, frequent nightmares, difficulty getting up in the morning, and daytime sleepiness are usually the result of improper sleep regime. Anyone can experience sleep problems from time to time. If these disorders become constant, it’s time to consult a specialist.
- Skin hyperpigmentation
Malfunctions of the adrenal glands can also lead to skin problems. Dark spots on the skin may be the result of increased melanin synthesis. Keep in mind that any unusual change in skin color is an important reason to visit a therapist.
Adrenal Fatigue or Adrenal Insufficiency?
The theory of adrenal fatigue is based on the assumption that long-term stress cortisol production makes adrenal glands burn out. There is no proven medical evidence that this is possible. However, adrenal insufficiency is a serious medical condition that shares similar symptoms.
Adrenal insufficiency means that adrenal glands or a pituitary gland are damaged and the production of hormones is decreased. Apart from the adrenal fatigue symptoms, a person with insufficiency may experience vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pains. This disease can be diagnosed with blood tests. In the case of adrenal insufficiency hormone therapy is usually prescribed.
Alternative medicine considers adrenal fatigue a real medical condition. Healthy lifestyle, diet, and vitamin supplement are usually suggested. It’s also important to minimize stress factors. If your condition is not improving after establishing your daily routine and eating habits, consult a specialist. However, it’s up to you to decide whether adrenal fatigue is real or not.