Each person has two adrenal glands, one on the top of each kidney. These small glands secrete a number of hormones that are critical to our well-being. Adrenaline affects blood pressure, heart rate, and sweating; mineralocorticoids affects blood pressure plus the levels of salts and potassium in the body. Other hormones control how fats, proteins, and carbohydrates are used plus male sex functions. Cortisol is also produced by the adrenal glands and has a number of important functions including helping the body deal with stress.
Adrenal fatigue (hypoadrenia) is a term used in alternative medicine for a syndrome or a group of symptoms that are the result of the adrenal glands functioning below their normal and needed levels. (Traditional, allopathic, medicine has not yet officially accepted adrenal fatigue as a disease or syndrome.) The paramount symptom is fatigue or a persistent tiredness that does not seem to be relieved by rest. Other symptoms may include aches, sleep difficulties, digestive disorders, or a general feeling of not being well. It plays havoc on the hormonal balance which makes women more prone to this disorder. Menopause and adrenal fatigue are common.
The common belief is that adrenal fatigue is the result of the adrenal glands not being able to keep up with the stress load of the individual. This can be physical, emotional, or physiological and can be accumulative if there are multiple and prolonged conditions in one’s life. The chronic stress may make it impossible for the adrenal glands to maintain proper homeostasis. Since the adrenal hormones control so many functions of the body (energy levels, heart functions, immune response, sex drive, etc.) a multiplicity of symptoms can result as the body tries to balance itself and restore homeostasis.
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