Adrenal glands are located just above the kidneys. These glands mainly function as a regulator for the body’s response to stress. Adrenals can release stored energy for immediate use, sharpen senses, slow down one’s digestion and other functions, and even increase your blood pressure or heart rate.
Adrenal gland fatigue, also known as adrenal exhaustion or adrenal fatigue, is a condition caused by the failure of adrenal glands to produce hormones efficiently. The adrenals also regulate the amounts of cortisol in the body. Cortisol helps the body to avoid inflammation and deal with stress.
What are some of the most common causes of adrenal gland fatigue?
1. Lack of sleep
Studies show that adrenal glands recharge hormone reserves as an individual sleeps. Broken sleep patterns or lack of sleep can greatly contribute to the signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue. In fact, lack of sleep can even be considered as a direct cause for the condition.
2. Emotional and mental stressors
Common causes of adrenal gland fatigue are stressors such as continuous stress from school and work. Worrying about school, work and other life problems can place severe emotional and mental pressure on an individual, resulting in a draining effect on his or her adrenal reserves.
3. Physical stressors
Physical stress is another cause of adrenal gland fatigue. Adrenal function is greatly reduced when an individual exhausts his or her physical limitations for lengthy periods of time. Continuously going on overtime at work, for example, is an example of an incident that can lead to physical exhaustion. This situation is very common among the working force, and is one example of a physical stressor. Another similar situation is an athlete undergoing vigorous training without getting enough time for proper rest.
Chronic illnesses and diseases that greatly affect an individual’s energy levels is another example of a physical stressor. Individuals with illnesses and diseases often continue to carry on the responsibilities they had before being diagnosed with their illnesses. The added physical demands on one’s body due to illness can also be a cause of adrenal fatigue. Inflammatory diseases, in particular, can be especially taxing.
4. Excessive intake of stimulants
When an individual needs an extra dose of energy, he or she usually resorts to an increased intake of stimulants to help get through the day. These stimulants increase one’s level of adrenal hormones. However, as the stimulant leaves the body, one’s level of adrenal hormones will go down, as well. Alcohol and drugs are two common means used by individuals to deal with low energy levels. The continuous fluctuation of high and low energy levels can cause adrenal gland fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue may be a common illness due to the stressful times we are living in. If the body is in a constant state of exhaustion and stress, the adrenals too, get exhausted. In order to restore the adrenal glands to optimal health, it is important that one gets proper rest, maintains a healthy diet and avoids as many stressors as possible.