Adrenal Stress Disorder / Illness
The adrenal glands are known as the stress glands of the body. They are located over each kidney and are important for many bodily functions. They are instrumental in managing stress in the body, but it is possible for them to be overwhelmed by it.
Adrenal Stress Disorder or functional hypoadrenia is a condition that is many patients have and go undetected. The common response a patient with ASD has is, “I don’t feel well. I have so many problems but my blood and other tests are ok. I don’t know what is wrong?”
This is not a disease process as such; it is a condition in which the adrenal glands are incapable of meeting all the demands placed upon them. The adrenal glands are responsible for many functions and may thus cause a myriad of symptoms, fatigue, dizziness, joint pain, allergies, digestive disturbances, asthma, palpitations, back pain, headaches, impotence, colitis, infertility, angina (chest pains), moodiness, depression, mental anxiety, nervousness, mental sluggishness (brain fog), shakiness, and on and on.
Because today most doctor are trained to think in terms of disease rather than functional problems, they do not recognize adrenal stress disorder until it becomes frank Addison’s disease or other major failure of the adrenal glands to produce hormones. When these disease processes are present, hormone medication is necessary to preserve life. Fortunately, Addison’s disease and other adrenal failures are fairly rare, whereas adrenal stress disorder is very common throughout the country, if not the world. It is a condition in which the body is not functioning optimally, but a disease process is not present.
Standard laboratory tests are designed to find Addison’s disease and other frank failures. The tests may not reveal adrenal stress disorder. A thorough case history in conjunction with general clinical and AK examinations can detect adrenal stress disorder very easily when the physician considers functional disorders as well as disease processes.
The condition usually develops as a result of three factors: 1) more demand – i.e. distress in many forms – placed on the adrenal glands than they are capable of handling, thus depleting their reserves; 2) dietary indiscretions; and 3) structural dysfunction causing stress within the body.
Hans Selye, M.D., researched this condition in the 1920’s and 1930’s, providing the basis for our current understanding. He described the general adaptation syndrome (GAS) of adrenal stress disorder, which consist of three stages:
- Stage 1: Alarm stage, which is a call to arms of the body’s defensive mechanisms provided by the adrenal glands against stress. The alarm reaction is present during any stress, whether it is emotional, an injury, a demand to fight, or any upsetting factor.
- Stage 2: Resistance stage, which occurs when the stress that activated the alarm stage is prolonged. The adrenal glands actually grow in size to meet the demand of the long-term stress. This is usually a patient that is always getting sick. When another person is sick, that person will also get sick.
- Stage 3: Exhaustion stage, during which the adrenal glands become depleted. This is the final stage of adrenal stress disorder. Hans Selye, M.D., reported in the study that ulcers and pathological changes take place.
The adrenal cortex is the outside portion of the adrenal glands that produces 3 major types of hormones:
- Glucocorticoids are responsible for converting fats and protein for use as sugar in the body, and they release stored sugar. This activity helps prevent low blood sugar commonly causing depression, shakiness, headaches, unclear thinking, and many other problems. Glucocorticoids are also anti-inflammatory hormones that help prevent rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, duodenal or gastric ulcers, rhinitis, sinusitis, bronchitis, hay fever, asthma, chronic upper respiratory infections, skin rashes, and/ or other inflammatory disorders that do not serve a useful purpose.
- Sex Corticoids are the male and female hormones, testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen. The female hormone, estrogen is produced by the adrenal in very small quantities compared to the production by the ovaries; however, it is thought that this hormone is important in the menopausal female.
- Mineralocorticoids play a major role in the mineral balance of the body. Minerals that are out of balance affect the body’s fluid balance, including the fluid inside and outside body cells. Blood volume is also affected. The mineralocorticoids are the body?s pro-inflammatory hormones, working with the glucocorticoids to help keep inflammatory process in check.
The inside of the adrenal gland secretes two types of hormones. The first, epinephrine – sometimes called adrenaline – has been known for a long time; it is the hormone primarily correlating with the “fight or flight” mechanism, enabling an individual to fight stress. Epinephrine and norepinephrine from the adrenal medulla help mobilize sugar from the body’s storage and control the autonomic nervous system. Since sugar is needed by nearly all tissues of the body, and since the autonomic nervous system controls the body’s organs and glands, you can see the wide effects of the hormones from the adrenal medulla.
Along with the actions noted above, the adrenal gland plays an integral role in the delicate balance of the glandular system. It stimulates some glands and, in turn, other glands stimulates it. Failure of any gland tends to throw the entire glandular system off balance.
People inherit their glandular patterns much the same as they inherit facial characteristics and body builds. Some people inherit very strong adrenal patterns that make them capable of abusing the adrenal glands with many forms of stress or dietary indiscretions without having health problems. Others, unfortunately, inherit weak adrenal patterns, allowing cumulative factors of stress to cause health problems rather quickly and easily. When adrenal stress disorder is diagnosed in a person, it should be suspected that because of genetics his/her children, aunts, uncles, and other relatives might have the same condition, causing some of their health problems
What can be done about the problem?
Fortunately, there are effective methods of correction available for adrenal stress disorder. First the condition must be recognized as well as the cause(s). The use of AK in combination with standard methods of examination provides additional ability for finding the cause of these functional conditions. Treatment includes specific chiropractic adjustments, needless acupuncture / meridian therapy, as well as dietary changes, nutritional supplementation, as well as addressing other factors. Emotions, temperature, and electromagnetic frequencies can also off set the adrenals. Total Body Modification (TBM), Total Kinesiology (TK), Homeopathy, and Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET) are also used when needed. Dr. Lisa will evaluate your nervous system (ANSA Nerve Test), nutritional requirements, and stress involvement, and will provide a custom-made treatment plan for you. In addition, Dr. Lisa will also, if necessary, suggest appropriate changes involving life style modification.
When adrenal stress disorder is present, a person tends to consume large quantities of adrenal stimulants and refined carbohydrates such as sugar, starch, caffeine, and alcohol. Whenever there is stimulation, depression, follows that eventually needs more stimulation. This continuing cycle may eventually lead to addiction.
In order to rebuild the adrenals, it is necessary to withdraw from stimulants such as caffeine, cigarettes, alcohol, and sugar. Be careful, caffeine is present in many over the counter medicines such as aspirin compounds, cold medications, and pain-relief drugs, and sugar is added to many foods. The adrenal glands cannot rebuild when they are constantly being over-stimulated.
If the condition has been present for a long time, a rebuilding program is necessary. The more accurately you follow Dr. Lisa’s recommendations, the faster you will recover. By being persistent with the corrective approach prescribed, and you will no longer be a victim of the condition described by Hans Selye as just being sick.
Are you tired being sick? Do you want a sound, safe, and fast solution? Do you want a doctor that cares and will listen to your body, and provide the appropriate therapy? Would you like to know you are not a number? That hope is just a phone call away? Act fast and make an appointment today at the Kinetic Chiropractic.
Written by Systems DC, 2004