Adrenal fatigue or insufficiency is a hormonal disorder that occurs as a result of the adrenal glands not producing enough of certain hormones. This disorder can be primary or secondary.
Primary adrenal fatigue, which is also referred to as Addison’s disease, occurs as a result of failure of the adrenal glands to produce enough adrenal hormone cortisol due to damage. This is disease is estimated to affect approximately 100 to 144 of every one million people in the developed countries.
Secondary adrenal fatigue on the other hand occurs when the pituitary gland is not able to produce enough adrenocorticotropin hormone which stimulates the production of the hormone cortisol in the adrenal glands. If the output of adrenocorticotropin hormone becomes too low, production of cortisol stops. This type of adrenal insufficiency is much more common compared to primary adrenal fatigue.
Adrenaline and cortisol hormones usually play a very important part in the body. They help in controlling the nervous system by regulating the way the body handles pain, the body’s sexual hormones, the natural run or fight tendencies, and the flow of blood in the body.
The following are the top five symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
- Chronic Fatigue
One of the indicators that you are suffering from this condition is chronic fatigue. You may feel very exhausted even after long hours of sleep, or you may become too unproductive at work as a result of being too tired.
The chronic fatigue is caused by low levels of cortisol as well as neurotransmitter such as norepinephrine and adrenaline in the body. So you should not just assume that any kind of tediousness is normal and start taking too much coffee with the hopes of overcoming it.
In fact, you are advised to cut back your coffee intake to one cup a day if you are a heavy coffee drinker and you find out that you are suffering from this insufficiency. You are supposed to continue minimizing the coffee intake until you eventually stop taking the coffee completely.
It is also important to know that fatigue is a common symptom of many diseases such as arthritis, anemia and diabetes. So you should not be quick to conclude that you have this condition when you feel too tired.
- Chronic Headaches
Even though some people are chronic headache sufferers, it could also be a symptom of adrenal insufficiency. If you have never had the misfortune of experiencing a serious headache before and then you happen to experience one, you should check with your doctor because you might be suffering from this insufficiency.
This condition can also cause a simple headache to aggravate into something more serious such as a migraine. If you have an ongoing or chronic migraine, it is a sign of some deeper chemical imbalance resulting from this condition, and it will need to be controlled by a prescription from a medical professional.
- Decreased Sex Drive
If you notice that your sex drive has decreased enigmatically, it is an indicator that your body needs nourishment as well as time to restore. The adrenal glands are actively involved in the production of the body’s sexual hormones, for instance testosterone and estrogen.
In the event that the adrenal glands stop the production of the sexual hormones or slow down, you might experience a lack of interest in sexual matters. This could be a sign that something is wrong with you.
A healthy libido is not only important for you, but also for the good of your significant other. So if you notice that your sex drive is decreasing, you need to see a medical expert immediately to run a series of tests so as to establish the underlying problem.
- Higher Energy Levels in the Evenings
The lower cortisol levels that are caused by this condition may have a negative effect on your energy levels throughout the day. If you are healthy, the cortisol levels are supposed to be at the highest early in the morning and decline gradually throughout the day.
However, if you are suffering from adrenal fatigue or insufficiency, you may experience increased levels of cortisol in the evenings, something that may contribute to increased energy levels. This means that you will be tired all day, and then start feeling energetic in the later afternoon or evening.
You are likely to experience this symptom in the earlier stages of this condition because the adrenals are still able to produce significant amounts of adrenaline and cortisol.
- Cravings for Salty Foods
The cortex, which is a part of the adrenals, is responsible for producing aldosterone which is a mineralocorticoid that works together with the kidney to control fluid and mineral excretion in your body. When the adrenals are fatigued, the production of aldosterone slows down. You also tend to excrete huge amounts of useful minerals in your urine.
Even though frequent urination is attributed to age due to depleted endocrine systems, it could also be as a result of depleted adrenals. What this means is that if you are suffering from adrenal fatigue or insufficiency, your ability to balance levels of minerals such as potassium, sodium, and magnesium in your blood effectively will be interfered with. This is will in turn lead to cravings for salty foods so as to replace the sodium that you have lost.
So if you suddenly find yourself craving for salty snacks, you should see a doctor because you could be suffering from adrenal fatigue.
There are many other symptoms associated with adrenal insufficiency, including joint pain, dry skin, weight gain, lower back pain, low blood pressure, loss of muscle tone, depression, and so on. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention from a professional. The professional will do a series of tests in order to determine what is causing the problem.
There are things that you can do to repair your adrenals without necessarily going to a doctor. They include removing stressors, getting enough sleep and changing your diet. However, if you are very ill, you should seek a doctor’s advice to prevent the condition from becoming worse.
A feeling of heaviness and tiredness in the legs is a common symptom in most people at some point in their lives. It can be a discomfort that comes and goes from time to time. The people that are likely to have tired legs are those that have occupations that require them to stand on their feet for very long hours, for instance hairdressers and shop assistants. The people who sit down for longer hours while working are also at the risk of having tired legs.
The tired leg syndrome affects both men and women equally, but the numbers tend to increase with the age. Statistics indicate that about half of the women that are above the age of 45 suffer from tired legs. 7 out of 10 of these women are said to suffer a lot of pain that interferes with their day to day lives.
If you experience tired and aching legs, you should not just ignore it. It is important to try to understand what could be the cause so as to know the right way to deal with it accordingly before it becomes severe.
- Poor Blood Circulation
Long periods of sitting or standing can cause poor blood circulation in the legs. During blood circulation, blood is usually pumped back to the heart through veins. Since the legs are at a lower position in the structure of the body than the heart, blood has to be pumped against gravity from the legs to the heart.
When you sit, stand or stay inactive for a long period of time, the ability of the leg muscles to contract sufficiently in order to force enough blood upwards is interfered with. This causes the blood to gather in the veins, something which in turn causes it to be restricted from draining from tissues in that area in order to be pumped to the heart.
If you continue being inactive for long, you will start feeling tension or heaviness in the legs, something that will make them feel tired. You need to make sure that you exercise your legs even if your work in an environment that forces you to sit or stand for long hours to improve blood circulation and prevent your legs from feeling tired.
- Medications and Medical Conditions
There are some types of medications that can cause the tired legs syndrome. The most common ones include antipsychotic drugs, anti-nausea drugs, some antidepressants as well as allergy and cold medications that have sedating anti-histamines. If you usually have tired legs and then take these medications, they could worsen the condition. So it is always important to explain to a doctor your condition.
Tire legs could also be as a result of some medical conditions. Diseases such as arthritis, blood clots, atherosclerosis varicose veins and nerve damage usually affect blood supply to the legs. Leg-nerve damage or spinal-nerve damage may also cause tired legs. They usually cause a tingling feeling or numbness in the legs that makes them feel tired.
Other medical conditions that have also been found to cause the tired legs syndrome include kidney failure, Parkinson’s disease, peripheral neuropathy and diabetes. Treating these conditions will give you some relief if you feel like your legs are so tired and heavy.
Waking up with tired legs could be as a result of poor sleep quality apart from lack of enough rest. If you find trouble moving your legs every morning, it could be because your brain, legs and other parts of your body are not getting enough supply of oxygen when you are sleeping.
Enough oxygen may fail to reach your legs due to breathing problems such as snoring, inflammation of sinuses, deviations in your nasal sinuses, and allergies that cause your nose to be congested. Bacterial or viral infections that affect the upper part of the respiratory system may also affect your breathing, and as a result cause poor supply of oxygen in the legs and other parts of the body. This in turn causes your legs to feel tired.
Breathing problems that hinder proper supply of oxygen in the body when you are sleeping may also be caused by sleep apnea. It is a more serious condition whereby a person stops sleeping altogether for some minutes when they are sleeping.
- Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D is very important in the body because it causes the bones to be stronger. This means that if you have deficiency of this nutrient in your body, your leg bones will be weaker. You will start feeling tired even if you stand for a very short because they are not strong enough to support the rest of the body.
Vitamin D is not only important for the bones, but also for the heart and the rest of the body. If you fail to include enough of it in your diet, your entire body may feel fatigued and tired, something that may affect your performance in your day to day activities. You may also be at a high risk of suffering heart problems.
It is therefore very important to make sure that you have enough of this nutrient in your system. You can get it by simply basking in the sun. It also occurs naturally in some foods such as fish, grain products and egg yolks.
This is another possible cause of tired legs. Some women usually experience the tired legs syndrome especially in the last trimester of their pregnancy. It is caused by the added weight of the baby that they have to carry on their feet. The symptoms usually disappear in a few weeks’ time after delivery.
However, just because you are pregnant and you are experiencing tired legs is not necessarily the effect of the pregnancy. You could be pregnant and having trouble sleeping at night, and as a result the tired legs syndrome will be as a result of insufficient sleep.
Even though the uncomfortable feelings caused by tired legs may subside easily with rest, you should not always assume them. If the discomfort develops into muscles cramps, a feeling of tension or cold feet, you should see a doctor immediately. Do not wait until the problem becomes worse.