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Old 03-18-2008, 07:27 AM   #1
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A list of Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms (Not Addisons)

I have been diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue and wanted to list my symptoms so other may compare their own symptoms. Personally, I am not totally sold on this as my complete problem yet, but I have had A LOT of tests and this is the only thing they have found so far. Hopefully the Moderator can turn this thread into a sticky for the board so that others can share their symptoms as well.

To begin with, I have been tested and I do not have any issues with my thyroid or with diabetes. I have been tested for cortisol issues and while my levels are very low, I do not have Addison's disease. In my opinion, one should definitely rule out issues with their thyroid, diabetes and adrenals before settling on adrenal fatigue.

There are varying degrees of adrenal fatigue and if indeed this is my diagnosis, then I have a serious case of adrenal fatigue based on tests and a holistic doctor's diagnosis. My symptoms are painful and at times unbelievable to me that I have had them for so long (10 months) and that they impact to such a degree that it is hard for me to believe that adrenal fatigue could be causing this. I share this in case someone else is going through AF at this same level and cannot believe its impact.

Symptoms:

1. High Anxiety
2. Constipation
3. Muscle Pains - Hurt to put pressure on any muscle for too long. Makes sitting and standing still difficult.
4. Lower back pain
5. Mid back weakness, tightness, tenderness
6. Tightness between shoulder blades
7. Extremely decreased ability to heal
8. Body fatigued when the mind is not
9. headaches
10. Extreme Muscle tightness in spine muscles, hamstrings, abdominal muscles and jaw
11. Cold Intolerance (especially in the morning)
12. Increased intolerance to foods that never bothered me before.
13. Random numbness and tingling in hands, feet, and hips
14. Muscle Weakness, often feel lung fatigue as well - like I was swimming all day.
15. Dry Skin
16. Joints crack/pop but don't hurt.
17. Decreases perspiration during moderate to heavy exercise.
18. Overall feeling that my body is not lubricated properly
19. Sinus issues.
20. Excessive Thirst
21. Excessive Urination
22. Episodes of high irritability
23. Hair Loss
24. Thinning of the skin

I hope to hear from others for comparison.

 
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Old 03-18-2008, 06:57 PM   #2
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Re: A list of Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms (Not Addisons)

I almost have them all. However in addition to the joint popping and cracking. I actually dislocate in the hips and my knees HURT! I have been blaming my thyroid and Hashimoto's for everything. I will let you know how my appointment goes on Thursday with my IM that is treating my thyroid and other issues.

MG
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Old 03-19-2008, 04:27 PM   #3
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Re: A list of Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms (Not Addisons)

MG...I hope things get better. It must be hard having possibly more than one AI condition.

I found this on another board and it is an excellent description of the progression of AF. It's geared towards women, but I think we all can benefit from this great insight.

Women are tired of being tired. They are also tired of arguing with the blood tests their doctors hold out in front of them to show that there is nothing wrong. They know that they shouldn’t have to feel the fatigue, low libido, anxiety, depression and even hair loss that has become their daily life. In fact, you can even throw in Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Osteoporosis, chronic insomnia, weakened immunity and numerous other symptoms. So if your blood tests are normal, what is going on? Well it may likely be a gland, and don’t assume it is the thyroid.



Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome

The adrenal glands are essential for our day-to-day ability to handle stress. They adapt to our environment and our sensory awareness, maintaining a constant state of readiness for any stress that our brain identifies. Stress is something that can vary from person to person, including what may trigger a stressful response. Once you decide that something is stressful, the adrenal glands will release a cascade of chemicals into the blood which will alter the function of every cell in your body. This “fight or flight” response is intended for short-term change, but in our present world, may become a long-term adaptation, changing the very nature of who you are.




“Mineral corticoids… hormones which increase blood levels of sodium and water and decrease blood levels of potassium. That means they control muscle tension levels, blood pressure, circulation, water retention.”



The adrenals are actually a part of the kidney meridian and in fact, lie on top of each kidney. There are two areas of the adrenal, the cortex on the outside and the medulla within. The adrenal cortex releases three groups of hormones, the first of which is known as Mineralocorticoids, which include aldosterone. These hormones increase blood levels of sodium and water and decrease blood levels of potassium. That means they control muscle tension levels, blood pressure, circulation, water retention (and all the bacteria in it) and maintain your pH balance. They are made from cholesterol, so if you are on the fat-free path, blood pressure medication is in your future. They are also strongly triggered by stress.



Adrenals and Combating Stress

The second group of hormones are known as the Glucocorticoids, the most important of which is cortisol. They provide your body tissues with ready energy to combat the effects of stress. Once stress occurs, they begin to break down available stores of fat and protein for energy and tissue building. So again, if you have low levels of fat and protein in your diet, your body will cannibalize your own tissue. These hormones also dampen inflammation and depress immune responses. Cortisol redirects blood to larger muscle groups and also inhibits the thyroid by increasing thyroid-binding proteins made in the liver.




“Glucocorticoids, the most important of which is cortisol, provide your body tissues with ready energy to combat the effects of stress.”



It has a strong link to progesterone, testosterone and particularly DHEA, as high cortisol levels can exhaust DHEA production. In fact our very body metabolism is determined by the balance between DHEA and cortisol. If the adrenals are healthy, then cortisol enables the body to produce progesterone even after menopause, making up for the drop in ovarian function. This can be important, as post-menopausal progesterone maintains emotional balance through a calming action, so low levels can cause anxiety. Cortisol also cycles numerous times through the blood so its effects, whether positive or negative, can be long-term.



How DHEA can Affect You

The final group of hormones are the Androgens such as DHEA. In females DHEA is thought to increase sex drive and libido. DHEA also helps with weight loss by maintaining lean muscle mass, but it also increases the turnover rate of bone cells which can lead to osteoporosis if high levels are maintained over time.



The Adrenal Medulla is the trigger for determining how strongly we will react to stress. It does this by secreting only one group of hormones known as the catecholamines. These include epinephrine or adrenalin and norepinephrine. The presence of these chemicals will produce a euphoric feeling and also will increase heart rate, respiration and decrease unnecessary functions such as reproduction and digestion.




“The positive & necessary effects these chemicals produced in the first 30 minutes of stress are replaced by negative and damaging changes when sustained for longer periods of time… Known as sympathetic dominance and this is what leads to Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome”



But the positive and necessary effects these chemicals produced in the first 30 minutes of stress are replaced by negative and damaging changes when sustained for longer periods of time. This is what is known as sympathetic dominance and this is what leads to Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. Adrenal depletion is not viewed by the medical community as a condition that merits significant attention, yet possibly 75% of symptoms begin as a result of adrenal fatigue.



Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue

Some of the general symptoms of adrenal fatigue are constant tiredness, need for extra sleep, inability to cope with stress, reduced sex drive, body pain, sighing, yawning, recurrent infections, irritability, craving sweet food, irrational anxiety and digestive distress. Many current drugs can deplete the adrenals such as the Statin drugs. And not only drugs, but many foods can stress the adrenals as well such as caffeine, alcohol, sugar and nicotine.



The initial stress will cause the adrenals to go into the “Alarm Phase”. This is a normal period of resistance to the stress, intended to be of short duration, such as 30-40 minutes and should be asymptomatic. Both cortisol and DHEA increase during this phase. High levels of cortisol will initially cause an insulin surge, causing sugar cravings. For people that experience recurring Alarm phases, such as firemen, critical care nurses, EMT’s, public speakers and performance artists, I use herbal adaptogens which will fine-tune the stress response mechanism so that this phase is more efficient.



Adaptogen is a term first defined in 1947 by Lazarev as “…a substance which elicits a state of raised resistance to stressors…” Adaptogens help the adrenals to produce normal levels of hormones despite chronic stress being present. They promote regeneration, increase concentration, balance mood and increase metabolism. The initial Alarm Phase response will be stronger and faster and feedback control is more effective so the response is shut off faster. This prevents depletion of the adrenals and damage to the adrenal tissue.



Restless Leg Syndrome & Stress

The second phase of adrenal response is one of continued resistance, in which cortisol remains high but DHEA decreases and we become sympathetic dominant. We are hyperadrenal during this phase, with symptoms that may include anxiety attacks, mood swings, onset insomnia, restless leg syndrome and a generally “stressed” feeling. Due to the higher cortisol levels, many patients experience “epic” dreaming, which is very exhausting. Increased cortisol levels extend the length of REM cycle sleep, allowing less time for Delta Wave sleep, which is the period of healing, repair and growth. Because of this, healing capacity diminishes and immunity weakens.



“High cortisol increases obesity by increasing fat deposition and the loss of lean muscle mass.”





Increased levels of cortisol also use up our stores of calcium. If there is insufficient calcium that is bioavailable, the body will cannibalize bones and other structures. Higher levels of cortisol will increase prolactin which can cause a lack of ovulation and increases the removal of calcium from bones into the blood, which supports sympathetic dominance. High cortisol increases obesity by increasing fat deposition and the loss of lean muscle mass. It also has an antagonistic effect upon insulin production. It will cause headaches from vasoconstriction and inhibit the conversion of T4 to T3 for thyroid function. It shrinks and kills off hippocampus cells depleting emotional memory.



Adrenal Fatigue & Psychic Awareness

Many people believe that psychic awareness is based in the hippocampus, meaning that as adrenal fatigue sets in, psychic awareness may falter. As DHEA levels decrease and the catecholamine reserves are depleted, depression will begin. It is common for potassium levels to be low compared to sodium levels during this phase and higher protein intake will sustain the increased cortisol levels.



Phase 3 is the exhaustion phase in which cortisol and DHEA levels are both low. The person has now shifted from sympathetic dominance or resistance to parasympathetic dominance or exhaustion. The adrenal is now under-functioning and the body will enter a conservation mode. Symptoms of this phase are depression, maintenance insomnia and exhaustion, all of which can contribute to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Low levels of cortisol can bring on Fibromyalgia symptoms, impotence in men, panic disorders, infertility, anorexia nervosa, low white blood cell levels and low blood pressure.



Returning to Sleep

Sleep will be disturbed by waking up and not returning to sleep, a result of cortisol surges from the adrenals having lost their proper timed response. These surges can be worsened by hypoglycemia issues. Low levels of DHEA can cause recurring infections, arthritis, obesity and early menopause.



Many of these people simply lie down under the weight of the stress. They give up, they cry, they feel that life offers nothing for them. Instead they feel that life and the people around them simply drain them. They believe it will never change, and sometimes they are right. Choices are made which serve only to maintain the status quo, even though it is bringing them to the brink of despair. So the first order of business are adrenal tonics which will conserve cortisol, while nourishing and restoring the adrenal glands. Adrenal tonics are different from adaptagens because they increase or release available energy from our reserves. They reduce side effects of corticosteroid drugs and improve regulation of cortisol and DHEA output. They give the adrenal glands a rest by providing temporary energy. At the same time I will give them high-grade nutrition and provide restoration and treatment for each body system that relies on adrenal function, in order to temporarily spare the adrenals.



Natural Chemistry & Managing Stress
Karen Clickner - naturapath

 
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Old 03-19-2008, 05:07 PM   #4
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Re: A list of Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms (Not Addisons)

Thanks. I do not mind additional AI's.. in some regard you should expect them. The more the merrier if you have defective genes. At least the women in my family live long. The quality of life is questionable, but we live to 95 on average.

I will fight til I have an answer and treatment regime. I even have set a deadline for fixing my issues. Let us see if I make it. Murphy's law loves me.

MG
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Old 03-19-2008, 06:38 PM   #5
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Re: A list of Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms (Not Addisons)

MG, how did it go at the Dr. today? What did you find out?

 
Old 03-19-2008, 07:53 PM   #6
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Re: A list of Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms (Not Addisons)

Thursday at 11:30 am.. that is tomorrow right? Dang it.. maybe I missed it.. Nope still Wednesday. I will check in tomorrow. You raised my Bp there for a minute.

MG

Well I actually have low cortisol and high ACTH. I was diagnosed as adrenal fatigue and hypoadrenalism.. adrenal insufficiency. SO Addison's.. be it secondary/primary. With my Hashimoto's I can not tell which one comes before the other. I get to start hydrocortisone tablets tomorrow.

I had a slew of other tests today to check on my other adrenal functions and current blood chemistry and insulin resistance. So it will be another week before I know more.
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Last edited by mkgbrook; 03-20-2008 at 02:57 PM.

 
Old 03-29-2008, 09:04 AM   #7
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Re: A list of Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms (Not Addisons)

chris,
I have all of the symptoms that you have but 2. I also have a heart arrythmia (fast pulse and occassional pvc and pac). I also crack alot in the neck area.
I too have been diagnosed as hypoadrenal. But yesterday, I just got a copy of my all my labs since last February 2007 when all of this began and I found out that my ACTH was below the range and I was never notified of this. I got my records because I am switching doctors. So, I am not sure what that means except possible pituatary problems. Did you have high or low ACTH? I am totally confused now.
I am not sure if I helped, but I wanted to let you know that I do have alot of the same symptoms as you do.

 
Old 03-31-2008, 10:45 AM   #8
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Re: A list of Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms (Not Addisons)

Mmee,

I've had my ACTH tested twice recently and I was 17 and 18 on the tests. The range they give is 7-50. Unfortunately, doctors just work by the ranges and not by symptoms and sub-par levels. That is why it is critical to find a holistic, but licensed MD. That way you get the best of both worlds.

ALWAYS look up the blood tests you are suspect of on the internet. I have to give props to MG because she is the one that revealed to me that just because you are inside a range doesn't mean you are functioning properly for that particular test.

I just got back from an new Endo who isn't holistic but lead me to believe he was so initially. I saw some of my ranges were low and so I searched them on the internet. What I found out where the lab values were grossly inaccurate. So I printed up 4 (4!) articles, all from big name, reputable University Hospitals to show him. He wouldn't even look at them. In the end, he told me to go get a second opinion from one of those hospitals. But this just goes to show you how grossly uniformed and egotisitical some of these doctors are.

The point is to research not only the values the labs say are out of range, but to look over your labs, see what is high and low within the stated range and then do some research. You might be surprised what you find.

I am currently looking for information on low ACTH, even if it is in range. If I find any info, I'll post it back here.

Last edited by chris0007; 03-31-2008 at 10:48 AM.

 
Old 03-31-2008, 10:54 AM   #9
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Re: A list of Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms (Not Addisons)

chris,
I am so sorry that you had to go through that, but I know exactly what you mean. I have this huge ANA level of 1:640, 8 times higher than normal and I asked my physician if he would test me for graves and hashis, because autoimmune thyroid runs in my family, and he out and out refused. So, I went to another doctor and had them tested. He expected me to sit around with an ANA level like that while something is destroying my body.-uhuhuh Yes, if you find any other info out about low ACTH let me know, I will do the same.
I go to a new doctor on Wednesday, so I am going to ask him then about it, along with many other things.
Thanks.
mmee

 
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