Addressing questions on adrenal fatigue
Have you heard of adrenal fatigue and wonder if there is any truth to it?
If you’re not feeling well and are searching for answers, you may have come across it online or in books.
It’s currently a controversial topic in western medicine, however, it is an assessment more widely recognized in the naturopathic world and one that we address in our office frequently.
For insight on adrenal fatigue, we asked Dr. Graves common questions he receives.
What is adrenal fatigue?
Dr. Graves: Adrenal fatigue is more of a functional diagnosis than a western medical diagnosis.
A true western medical diagnosis is based on if disease is present and adrenal fatigue isn’t a disease (there are specific adrenal diseases such as Addison’s disease and Cushing’s syndrome). Rather, it’s a functional condition in which the adrenals aren’t functioning properly.
Simply put from my naturopathic perspective, adrenal fatigue happens when the adrenal glands aren’t able to support daily life and stressors.
What are symptoms of adrenal fatigue?
Symptoms can be quite broad and can include:
- fatigue and exhaustion (even after a good night’s sleep)
- weight gain
- trouble focusing
- food cravings
- poor exercise recovery
- little energy to exercise
- unexplained pain or body aches
- low immunity, frequent colds and flus
- blood sugar imbalance
- food cravings
- low blood pressure
and depending on the individual, there may be others.
Can you test for adrenal fatigue?
I’m different from many western doctors because I analyze results on a scale of suboptimal to average to optimal. Many western doctors typically look for results that are outside of normal ranges which can indicate disease.
Adrenal function tests that I frequently recommend are:
Four Point Saliva Cortisol Test
Blood test for DHEA, pregnenolone, AM cortisol, PM cortisol
I also like to do a full fatigue blood workup that includes blood testing for thyroid issues and anemia.
What do you do if you suspect adrenal fatigue is present?
Most times, I advise patients to support their adrenal glands with different therapies and restore basic physical functions (like stress management and sleep).
Herbal supplements, acupuncture, and healthy lifestyle habits (such as adequate rest) can significantly help adrenal fatigue (all of which should be based on the type of adrenal issue that is present). I work with each patient individually to customize a plan that works for them.
It’s important to note that it can take some time to start feeling better, so try to be patient with your body. However, if 3-4 weeks have went by with no improvement, it may be time to modify treatment.
When it comes to adrenal fatigue, it’s a lesson in listening to your body and many times, being your own health advocate.
If you are having difficulty managing stress (or are experiencing chronic stress), feel consistently wired or tired, and/or have been told that nothing is wrong but you just don’t feel yourself, please call us at (303) 688-6698 or click here to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation with Dr. Graves to see if adrenal fatigue may be worth investigating.
The CNMA office provides naturopathic care, testing, massage, and holistic counseling to those in Castle Rock, Castle Pines, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Centennial, Parker, Larkspur, Monument, Colorado Springs, and the greater Denver metro area. For those outside of these areas, virtual appointments are available.