Adrenal stress refers to excess stimulation of the adrenal glands and the over-production of cortisol. Adrenal stress also emphasizes that with prolonged stimulation of the adrenal glands via chronic stress that cortisol levels will eventually falter leading to deficiencies. Deficiency in cortisol production indicates adrenal exhaustion, and if severe adrenal insufficiency. Adrenal insufficiency is a traditional medicine term used to imply severe adrenal problems such as Addison’s disease. For many people adrenal stress is normal part of life as the adrenal respond appropriately to acute stressors to help maintain cortisol production which helps maintain normal cellular function. However, chronic stress has a number of long-term consequences.
The Long-Term Consequences of Adrenal Stress Leading to Adrenal Fatigue
Chronic adrenal stress often leads to what is called adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue culminates in a set of nonspecific symptoms such as mental and physical fatigue, lethargy, and poor immunity. These symptoms can be due to many other conditions as well, but often the adrenal stress that leads to adrenal fatigue is quite common in our modern society. The long-term consequence of adrenal stress leading to adrenal fatigue is poor overall health that negatively impacts every organ system in the body including the heart, digestive, brain and immune system.
Adrenal Stress Leading to Adrenal Fatigue or Insufficiency and Lab Testing
Adrenal stress can initially cause excess or high cortisol which can be measured via blood or saliva testing. This elevated excess cortisol of adrenal stress is an adaptation response of the adrenal glands and their attempt to maintain harmony and balance of the endocrine system and cellular function throughout the body. Initially, adrenal stress may not be apparent to a health care practitioner, but once laboratory testing is implemented the values of cortisol represent a problem. If the adrenal stress becomes chronic overtime than eventually adrenal fatigue manifests with low cortisol values. It still requires a clinical history and examination along with laboratory investigations to determine the extent of adrenal stress and fatigue. One of the best tests for this analysis is a 24 hour salivary representation of cortisol. This test is best done through four saliva samples done at different times of the day. Normal cortisol levels are highest in the morning and then taper off throughout the day. Deviations from this indicated adrenal stress.
Adrenal Stress Summary
In summary, there are a number of lab tests that can be done for anyone dealing with adrenal stress, but the most important is a Salivary Adrenal Hormone Profile. Certainly blood testing for liver, kidney, thyroid, blood sugar and other metabolic factors can be checked as well, but for most people determining the level of cortisol through a Salivary Adrenal Hormone Profile like the #201 or #205 from BioHealth Laboratory is important with regards to adrenal stress.
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