Overview of Adrenal Fatigue
Patients sometimes report that _____________ arise after an illness such as an infection or other chronic illness.
Hi, I'm Dr. Michael Via, with Beth Israel Medical Center, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, and today with About.com we are going to discuss adrenal fatigue.Adrenal fatigue is a commonly used colloquial term that is often alleged by patients who experience a collection of symptoms that are unexplained. These can include sleep disruption, digestive symptoms, body aches and fatigue.Other symptoms could include lightheadedness, hair loss or excessive hunger and would typically be felt after a long period ofcontinuous stress, either physical, emotional or psychological.Patients sometimes report that symptoms arise after an illness, such as an infection or other chronic illness.The term "adrenal fatigue" is mainly used in the alternative or homeopathic medicine field and is not recognized by the scientific community.The supposed theory behind adrenal fatigue is that the adrenal glands, which are responsible for producing a number of hormones, become fatigued. When that happens, patients are no longer able to produce enough amount of these hormones which are necessary for the body to function properly. There is currently no evidence that suggests this truly occurs.Patients concerned that they may have adrenal fatigue should undergo a medical workup to evaluate for other potential causes for their symptoms. These could include fibromyalgia, depression, sleep apnea, iron or B12 deficiencies or thyroid disease, among others.So what are the adrenal glands and how do they affect our everyday health?The adrenal glands, located right above the kidneys, are also called suprarenal glands, and are comprised of two structures: the outer structure, or adrenal cortex, produces steroid hormones such as cortisol aldosterone and dihyroepiandrosterone sulfate.The inner structure, or the adrenal medulla, is responsible for the production of epinephrine and norepinephrine, also known as adrenaline and noradrenaline. Cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine are stress-response hormones. These, along with aldoseterone, regulate salt and sugar balance, blood pressure, and heart-pumping rate and capacity.To find out more, go to About.com.