Adrenal fatigue is a word for symptoms that people under long-term stress might feel: sleep problems, cravings, tiredness and fatigue, digestive issues, and body or muscle aches. The idea that long-term emotional or physical stress overworks the adrenal gland, causing an adrenal gland burnout, has not been proven, though. Adrenal fatigue is not considered to be a real diagnosis, and is based only in theory.
But for someone suffering from adrenal fatigue symptoms, the feelings are real.
What lifestyle or health factors can improve adrenal function?
The sleep cycle is the major lifestyle factor that can affect the adrenal gland. Abnormal sleeping patterns can directly and negatively influence your pituitary hormone ACTH, the hormone responsible for controlling the adrenal gland’s production of cortisol. There are also health factors that can affect our adrenal function. The most common cause of true adrenal dysfunction is medication. The use of steroids for inflammatory conditions or osteoarthritis can, over time, slow your body’s ability to make cortisol. Following closely with your healthcare provider can ensure your prescribed steroids are used sparingly and tapered appropriately.
Adrenal fatigue should not be confused with adrenal insufficiency, a rare medical condition which can be diagnosed in the lab.
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