The adrenal glands are almond-sized organs that sit on top of each kidney. Despite their small size, they are critical to sustaining life and are responsible for regulating blood pressure, stress response, and supplying blood to all vital organs.
Every adrenal condition is on a spectrum, from mild to severe. In the most severe cases, an outside source of adrenal hormones is required to survive. In milder forms, optimal adrenal function is achieved using lifestyle modifications, supplements, herbs, and vitamins.
Unfortunately, adrenal disorders are on the rise, likely a result of many environmental factors wreaking havoc upon our stress response and cortisol balance in the modern world. This includes chronic stress, excessive sugar and refined carbohydrate intake, inadequate sleep, alcoholism, emotional trauma, and lack of sun/nature/community. Cortisol is the main stress hormone (in addition to DHEA) released by the adrenal glands. The purpose of cortisol is to prepare a fight, flee, or freeze response in times of stress. In the short-term, a dose of cortisol helps immensely by moving blood to the muscles and away from the digestive system and the brain, increasing blood pressure and blood sugar, and shutting down blood supply to reproductive organs, each working in concert to help us respond to threat. However, by living under stressful conditions in the modern word, chronic cortisol exposure causes serious damage. Chronic stress leads to (among other symptoms) the inability to properly digest food (leading to many other conditions), improper sleep, brain fog, poor immune function, low libido and even infertility.
A diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency or fatigue can be achieved through a medical history, physical exam, and comprehensive hormone testing. Once uncovered, drastic improvements can be achieved through many healing modalities tailored to your specific case. There is great hope to recover from debilitating conditions through the proper understanding of root cause and determination to heal.