Fatigue is common problem in the western world. Our high stress, high carbohydrate sedentary lifestyles are riddled with problems that can lead to stress, poor health and degenerative disease.
Is there a way you can see if your poor little adrenal glands may be at the root of your fatigue?
I’ll give you a few quick tests we use in our office everyday to highlight someone may be at increased risk of adrenal fatigue.
Our adrenal glands are a couple of small glands that sit on top of our kidneys and help regulate our stress hormones, our reproductive hormones and our sodium levels. But it’s not just about the glands. A common misconception is the glands work on their own, nothing could be further from the truth!
Your adrenal glands are one component which is part of a system known as your Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis. It’s a system in the same way as your heart is part of your cardiovascular system.
This system is strongly controlled by your brain, most importantly two structures known as your hypothalamus and your hippocampus.
When things go wrong with your hippocampus we begin having issues with memory, navigation skills, we knock things when walking around and we begin losing the ability to regulate our stress mechanisms. So when we think of ‘adrenal fatigue’ the first thing we always look for is the health of all those small components in the brain that regulate stress.
Here’s a few quick tests you can do to check to see if these areas may be a problem for you:
- Eye check – Have someone shine a light in your eye. Do you gently squint or your eyes water? (1 point) Your pupils should constrict. Do they then rapidly dilate and/or pulse? (1 point)
- Back tenderness – Press firmly where your bottom rib joins your spine. Is it tender around this area? (1 point)
- Balance – Stand with both feet tightly together and close your eyes. Have someone gently but firmly tap you off balance sideways, forward left and right and backward left and right. Do you lose balance in any of these positions? (1 point for each area off balance)
- Stress Test – Go for a run for 15 minutes or use a skipping rope for 15 minutes. Do you immediately feel faint (1 point) or feel tired (sleepy – 1 point) after doing this?
- Orthostatic Test – Lay on your back, legs straight. Gently stand up. Do you feel lightheaded or dizzy at all (1 point)
If you scored more than 3 points, it’s possible you may have an imbalance in your HPA axis. A thorough assessment of your HPA axis by a professional trained in the neurological and hormonal aspects of HPA axis function is highly recommended.