If you have consistent low energy, especially upon standing, and have been unable to find a medical cause, you may want to check the possibility of adrenal fatigue.
Your adrenal glands not only give you bursts of energy for your “fight or flight” mode, but are responsible for increasing the flow of blood when you need to put out energy, such as just standing up from a lying or sitting position. With adrenal fatigue, which is common after long periods of extreme stress or for people with easily stressed personalities, the adrenal glands are unable to produce adequate quantities of its hormones, particularly cortisol.(1) Unfortunately, it is an often overlooked medical condition.
We had a friend who had passed out upon standing up and thereafter was consistently having difficulty just getting the energy to stand. The lack of blood to his head was causing dizziness and lightheadedness. He went through 6 months of medical testing at the hospital with no conclusive results.
In only 5 minutes, you can easily do a self test with a home blood pressure kit to see if you have adrenal fatigue.
Finally, a different doctor did the Ragland’s blood pressure test on him and in less than 5 minutes discovered the cause to be adrenal fatigue. With the Ragland test, you take your blood pressure while lying down and resting. Then, stand up and immediately take your blood pressure again. The systolic pressure (the first number) should go up about 10 points. If it stays the same or drops, you probably have adrenal fatigue. (2)
Here are some lifestyle factors that contribute to adrenal fatigue.
As I mentioned, an easily stressed personality overworks the adrenals, but these common lifestyle factors also contribute to it, provided by AdrenalFatigue.org (3):
- Lack of sleep
- Poor food choices (white flour, low fiber, sugar, few vegetables or fruit, lack of raw food, etc.)
- Using sweet or salty food and sweetened or caffeinated drinks as stimulants when tired
- Staying up late even though tired
- Feeling/acting powerless
- Constantly driving yourself
- Trying to be perfect
- Staying in no win situations
- Too few of enjoyable and rejuvenating activities
Adrenal Fatigue from prolonged emotional stress and/or other stressful lifestyle habits, as listed above, is likely to produce the following symptoms:
- Impaired cognitive performance
- Low thyroid function
- Blood sugar imbalances, such as hyperglycemia
- Decreased bone density
- Sleep disruption
- Decreased muscle mass
- Low blood pressure
- Lowered immune function
- Slow wound healing
- Increased abdominal fat, which has a stronger correlation to heart attacks, strokes, higher levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL), lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL). (4)
- Brain fog, cloudy-headedness and mild depression
- Fatigue – especially morning and mid-afternoon fatigue
- Lowered immune function
This is Part 1 of a two-part post. In Part 2, we will cover Natural Remedies for Adrenal Fatigue.
1. Definition of adrenal fatigue
2. Ragland’s Blood Pressure Test for Adrenal Fatigue (self test)
3. Contributing lifestyle factors
4. Adrenal fatigue symtoms at Adrenal Fatigue Quiz and Cortisol and Adrenal Function