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Archive for January 1st, 2009

Don’t underestimate the effects of stress on the body. I’ve been battling (unknowingly) the effects of adrenal stress for a long time and am finally emerging through it!

The adrenal glands are two tiny pyramid-shaped pieces of tissue above each kidney. They produce certain regulatory hormones and chemical messengers:

Adrenaline is manufactured in the interior of the adrenal gland (adrenal medulla), and cortisol is made in the exterior portion of the gland(adrenal cortex). The cortex also secretes androgens, estrogens, and progestins. Cortisol, commonly called hydrocortisone, is the most abundant – and one of the most important. Cortisol helps handle longer-term stress situations.

In addition, the two primary adrenal hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, along with others, help control body fluid balance, blood pressure, blood sugar, and other central metabolic functions.

In the heightened nervous state of adrenal burnout, the body overproduces adrenaline, cortisol and other stress hormones. Constant stress and poor nutrition can weaken the adrenal glands. Eventually, this causes the adrenal glands, the front line in the stress reaction, to show wear and tear and become depleted. This can also lead to impairment in the thyroid gland, which can cause a further decline in energy level and mood and is one of the reasons why many people have thyroid glands that don’t work well.

When stress continues for a prolonged period of time, the adrenal glands can deplete the body’s hormonal and energy reserves, and the glands may either shrink in size or enlarge (hypertrophy). The overproduction of adrenal hormones caused by prolonged stress can weaken the immune system and inhibit the production of white blood cells that protect the body against foreign invaders (in particular lymphocytes and lymph node function).

Adrenal dysfunction can disrupt the body’s blood sugar metabolism, causing weakness, fatigue, and a feeling of being run down. It can also interfere with normal sleep rhythms and produce a wakeful, unrelaxing sleep state, making a person feel worn out even after a full night’s sleep.

Testing for Adrenal Health

In order to determine the health of your adrenal glands you need to have a simple test (saliva testing being more accurate than blood tests)

Adrenal stress is extremely debilitating – I know I’ve been through it!

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