If you suffer any of the early symptoms of adrenal fatigue, see a doctor as soon as possible so that your ailment does not progress further. Fortunately, most people will receive help before reaching the third and most severe stage of adrenal fatigue, but timely medical attention may be critical to avoiding such an outcome. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy could relieve your symptoms and help you get back to normal.
Adrenal fatigue, also known as adrenal insufficiency, occurs when the hormone produced by the adrenal glands are out of balance. These glands, located above the kidneys, produce cortisol and aldosterone, among other hormones. The former helps with stress response while also regulating blood pressure. The latter balances levels of salt and water in the body.
This earliest stage of adrenal fatigue is mild and may go unnoticed. While there is a period of feeling hyper-alert, sleep patterns are affected, and patients begin feeling tired. Most people go through this stage at various points in their lives and recover on their own. For some, however, this early stage sets the alarm for an increase in adrenal fatigue, as it means cortisol levels are increasing.
The depletion stage involves a rollercoaster ride between anxiety and fatigue. It is an up-and-down phase, with hours of high energy alternating with extreme tiredness. People trying to treat their own symptoms may make matters worse by consuming large amounts of caffeine to stay awake, then using over-the-counter sleep medications, alcohol, or other depressants to bring them down enough to rest.
The final stage of adrenal fatigue is often referred to as “burnout.” Adrenaline and cortisol levels drop significantly, and patients are often tired all the time. Additional problems may crop up as well, including premenstrual syndrome (PMS), gastrointestinal issues, and hypothyroidism. Many people do not seek medical treatment until they reach burnout. While they could manage their symptoms to some degree in the earlier stages, the crash makes them realize they can no longer function normally.
While a mixture of fatigue and hyper-alertness are the dominant symptoms of adrenal fatigue, they are far from the only ones. Other symptoms, which may appear as early as Stage One of the condition, include:
One key symptom of adrenal fatigue is the craving for salty foods. If a patient suddenly develops a desire for salty snacks and has some of the other symptoms listed above, a checkup may be in order.
Diagnosing adrenal fatigue is accomplished via blood testing and tests revealing whether the body has sufficient adrenal hormone levels. A doctor could determine from the test results which stage of adrenal fatigue is affecting the patient.
While changes in diet and lifestyle are typical components of adrenal fatigue treatment, the use of bioidentical hormone therapy could be as well. These hormones, derived from plant sources, are the same on the molecular level as those produced by the body. One type of hormone that is particularly useful in treating adrenal fatigue is dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a hormone produced in the adrenal glands as well as the ovaries.
Patients should not attempt to treat themselves with over-the-counter DHEA supplements. Not only do over-the-counter supplements sometimes lack necessary quality control, but it is crucial for a doctor to determine the exact amount of DHEA for each patient. An incorrect dosage could have no effect—or even worse, negative ones.
For more information about adrenal fatigue and bioidentical hormone therapy, call the Connecticut office of Dr. Edward Jacobson today and make an appointment. Alternatively, he is available periodically for consultations in Newport Beach, Beverly Hills, and Manhattan.