Some doctors estimate that as many as 80% of all people suffer from adrenal fatigue at one point or another. Adrenal fatigue can lead to a variety of symptoms such as weight gain, sugar cravings, and constantly feeling tired. An adrenal fatigue test could be needed to determine if you have this disorder.
Your body contains two thumb-sized adrenal glands, one above each kidney. These glands are involved in producing over 50 essential hormones, including adrenaline, estrogen, progesterone, cortisone and cortisol. Adrenal fatigue occurs whenever the adrenal glands do not function as they should, and is often caused by undue stress. Acute or chronic infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia may also bring spur the condition on.
There are four basic stages of adrenal fatigue:
- Stage 1-The body creates significant amounts of most hormones, meaning you may not notice you are suffering from adrenal fatigue. You may however have disrupted sleep patterns or feel more tired than usual. Many people go in and out of Stage 1 adrenal fatigue throughout their lifetimes without even realizing it.
- Stage 2-Levels of DHEA and sex hormones begin to decline, and you may feel wired throughout the day but crash hard at night.
- Stage 3-You may begin to feel more tired and suffer regular infections and decreased libido. Performing everyday functions may also become increasingly difficult.
- Stage 3-Your mental and physical health may deteriorate, and you could experience weight gain, depression, or extreme anxiety.
Adrenal Fatigue Test
Many people are not even aware that they are suffering from adrenal fatigue. They may notice symptoms, but attribute them to another disease or condition. Testing is needed to diagnose this condition; however, there is no standard adrenal fatigue test. Rather, doctors use a combination of tests to check the ratios of different hormones and transmitters within the body. The results of these tests are then compared with one another to determine if adrenal fatigue exists, and if so to what degree. A few adrenal fatigue tests doctors may use include:
- Blood tests to check certain hormone levels
- Patient questionnaires
- Blood, saliva, or urine cortisol tests
- Urine neurotransmitter tests
- Iris contraction test
- Postural low blood pressure test
Your doctor may recommend any combination of tests, and may perform them over a period of several days or even weeks to get a better overall picture of how your adrenal glands are functioning.
Exercising with Adrenal Fatigue
If an adrenal fatigue test shows you are positive for adrenal fatigue, you may need to alter your exercise routine. Dr. Michael Lam claims that performing the wrong exercises or working out too hard can actually make your condition worse. He recommends an adrenal recovery exercise program that incorporates stretching, breathing, muscle toning, muscle fluidity, and systemic control, while also taking into account the particular stage of adrenal fatigue you are in.
If you have ever felt sluggish but didn’t know why, you may have been suffering from adrenal fatigue. Awareness of adrenal fatigue symptoms is key, as treatment is easier to accomplish when the condition is caught early on.