Are your Adrenals on Overdrive?
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Are your Adrenal Glands on Overdrive? Let’s talk a bit about what they adrenal glands actually are and go more into that later. Your adrenal glands are two small triangular-shaped glands that sit on top of your kidneys. they produce and secrete adrenaline and cortisol. Together, these regulate your body’s ability to protect you from infection, regulate your blood sugar, fat storage and mobilization to provide you with energy (metabolism), hormonal cycles and levels, and ability to get pregnant and carry babies. They also drive you into fast action when you’re in danger and provide the fule you need to sustain that action.
That flight to fight response is HUGE when it comes to our adrenal glands. The adrenal glands control our fight or flight mechanism. When we are in danger or think we are they mobilize all of our resources to fight or get away from that danger.
Generally, this flight to fight reaction is short lived. When stressed, the system would activate and pump out the amount of cortisol that we needed to get through that specific situation. Once we were “out of harm’s way” things would return back to normal with the hormones.
That’s not so much the case these days with everyone being so stressed that they have stress upon their stress. We’ve managed to create all kinds of constant stresses for ourselves! And our health pays the price – first because of adrenal overdrive, and then because of adrenal burnout, or “adrenal fatigue.” One of the many consequences of constant adrenal overdrive is that we pump out too much blood sugar and insulin, eventually becoming insulin resistant and gaining weight – especially around our middle.
It’s like we have tapped out our cortisol and adrenalin by overstressing and not giving our bodies enough time to return to normal and have those hormones “fill back up”. The adrenal glands act as shock absorbers to our system – they help us bounce back from life’s many stressors. When we’re under too much stress or unrelenting stress, eventually the adrenals get tired of working overtime. Then we experience something called adrenal fatigue – we get really tired, can’t fight off colds as well, and are less resilient to life’s bumps. We can’t even handle the little stressors let alone even adult with adrenal fatigue.
Let’s face it, we’re all under quite a bit of stress these days. Home pressures, work pressures, money pressures, kid pressures, keeping up with the Jones pressures, not to mention all those inner pressures we put on ourselves to be perfect – eat the perfect diet, having the perfect figure, excel at work, be the best mom on the block. It’s never-ending. Most of us are somewhere on the spectrum between adrenal overdrive and adrenal fatigue.
There are many signs and symptoms that can be associated with adrenal fatigue. Some you may not even associate with your adrenal glands. Did you know MOST autoimmune conditions (pretty much ALL OF THEM) are associated with fatigue? Whan your adrenal glands are overstressed you may experience MANY different symptoms ranging from physical to emotional to serious health issues.
Below are a “few” signs symptoms and health conditions that may be related to adrenal fatigue:
- You’re having trouble falling asleep even when you’re tired (“tired and wired”) and even when you do sleep, you’re not rested when you wake.
- You get irritable or angry really quickly or more often than you want to.
- You’re craving sugar/carbs, fat, salt – or all of the above!
- You get tired around 3-4 most afternoons, and that’s when you really want something sweet or some extra caffeine.
- You’ve been gaining weight, perhaps noticing a spare tire growing around your middle.
- You feel anxious, irritable, or blue.
- You’re getting sick more often than you used to AND it takes longer to recover.
- Your hormones are all over the place, you’re having fertility problems, and perhaps your libido is nowhere to be found.
- You’re memory and focus are not what you think they should be. BRAIN FOG!
- Your digestive system is a mess.
- Allergies, food reactions, hives
- High Cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure
- Insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, diabetes
- Osteopenia or osteoporosis
- PCOS, endometriosis, and infertility
- Autoimmune disease
- Skin Irritations
- Hormonal imbalances
Many times, there is another little gland that works in sync with the adrenal glands. Your thyroid! Both the adrenal and thyroid influence many of the same functions and have a huge impact on one another. You really can not effectively treat one without treating the other. They can both be thrown into imbalance by the same ROOT CAUSES and diagnosis. In the next episode, I will turn your attention to the specific role of your thyroid and how the thyroid and adrenals interact.
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