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Adrenal Fatigue: Do you have “Stress Syndrome”?



Part one of a two-part series.

Adrenal fatigue is an extremely common problem that affects people around the globe. In fact, it is so common that I have heard it sometimes referred to as the “21st-century stress syndrome.”

It is important to note that adrenal fatigue is a separate, distinct condition from adrenal insufficiency. Adrenal fatigue is thought to be caused by long-term stress, which wears down the adrenal glands and prevents them from producing sufficient levels of key hormones. Adrenal insufficiency also occurs when these glands cannot produce healthy amounts of hormones, but stress does not cause it.

The Many Signs and Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue can present itself in slightly different ways to all the people it affects. Many symptoms are hard to recognize as distinct problems and not simply due to stress or poor sleeping or eating habits. However, some signs are more common than all the others are.

  • You have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, no matter how well you slept. This is caused by a disruption to normal cortisol (a hormone produced in the adrenal glands) cycles.
  • You feel fatigued throughout the day. The lower-than-normal levels of hormones in the bodies of people suffering from adrenal fatigue can make it hard to maintain any kind of energy.
  • You struggle to handle any amount of stress. The same low level of hormones that keeps sufferers fatigued makes it difficult for them to deal with physical or emotional stress.
  • You crave salt. People with ineffective adrenal glands have less ability to balance the levels of important minerals in our bodies, including sodium. This leads to a craving for salty foods.
  • You sometimes experience a burst of energy in the evenings. In the early stages of adrenal fatigue, many sufferers will experience a rise of energy levels in the evening as their cortisol levels fluctuate.
  • You get sick more often. Cortisol helps the body’s immune system. Since people with adrenal fatigue do not produce normal levels of cortisol, their immune system becomes compromised.

While the issues listed above are the most telling signs of adrenal fatigue, it can also present with numerous other symptoms, including:


  • Heart palpitations during the night or when under stress
  • Lowered sex drive
  • Consistent low blood pressure
  • Panic or anxiety attacks
  • Unusually dry skin
  • Unexplainable hair loss
  • Sensitivity to chemicals in certain paints, plastics, and fingernail polishes
  • Constipation
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Causeless muscle pains
  • Cold extremities
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low thyroid function, unaided by thyroid medications
  • Depression that antidepressants do not help
  • Feelings of constant alertness

Women may experience numerous problems with their menstruation cycles if they are suffering from adrenal fatigue. They may also have a more difficult time getting pregnant. Adrenal fatigue can also make a woman more susceptible to ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids.

Exercise may help combat the symptoms of adrenal fatigue in the early stages. However, it does nothing to increase adrenal function in the long term. In time, instead of helping, exercise will drain the reserves of normal hormones from a person’s body faster and make the symptoms of adrenal fatigue more pronounced. This is another sign of adrenal fatigue.

Not every person who suffers from adrenal fatigue will have all the symptoms. Whether you suffer from only the common symptoms or present with those and numerous uncommon ones, you still have adrenal fatigue.

In this post, I focused on listing the signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue so people who suffer from it can recognize the disease affecting their lives. In an upcoming article, I will discuss ways to address the symptoms and, hopefully, resolve the underlying issue.

If you believe you may be one of the many people suffering from adrenal fatigue, contact Dr. Cabrera at 954-561-3175 or visit our web site at   In our next column, we will also provide recommendations for dealing with adrenal fatigue.