As the holiday season approaches, let’s take a moment to discuss chronic stress and adrenal dysfunction. For many people, the most wonderful time of the year means increased stress levels. From strained family get-togethers and work-related stress to general anxiety, the holidays can lead to higher stress over a long stretch of time. What many people don’t realize is that when stress becomes chronic, it can lead to adrenal dysfunction, which can contribute to:
- Increased risk of neurodegeneration
- Memory loss
- Mood disorders
- Sleep disorders
- Reproductive issues
- Accelerated aging
- Insulin resistance
Adrenal dysfunction can be serious, as demonstrated by some of the risks above. If you think that you suffer from adrenal dysfunction stemming from chronic stress, talk to a doctor as soon as you can.
Let’s take a look at what adrenal dysfunction is and how it can be treated.
What Do the Adrenal Glands Do?
First and foremost, the adrenal glands are integral to the “fight or flight” response. When fear arises, the adrenal glands release adrenaline (also known as epinephrine) and cortisol to help the body react to the stressful situation. As a survival response, it is quite effective, but in the modern world, where the stressors do not require us to fight or run away, it can be damaging. Cortisol raises blood sugar and blood pressure levels. It also interferes with thyroid hormone production, which can lead to metabolic syndrome.
Furthermore, science has confirmed the link between the high levels of cortisol produced by chronic stress and several diseases, including:
- Immune suppression
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Kidney dysfunction
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Worsening skin condition symptoms
Factors that Contribute to Adrenal Dysfunction
- History of chronic stress
- Sex (females are more likely to develop adrenal dysfunction than males)
- Low self-esteem
Treatments for Chronic Stress and Adrenal Dysfunction
- Stress reduction techniques – Meditation and exercises such as Tai Chi, yoga, and Pilates
- Sleep hygiene improvement – Helpful supplements such as Melatonin, Phosphatidylserine, L-Theanine, and calming herbs.
- Lifestyle changes – limiting responsibilities that cause stress, healthy meals, and alcohol and caffeine reduction
- Vitamins and minerals – Magnesium Glycinate or Citrate, B Vitamins, selenium, zinc, calcium, manganese, Vitamin E with mixed tocopherols, Vitamin C (Ascorbate)
- Pharmacologic therapy – Low doses of hydrocortisone have been found to help when the body fails to produce sufficient amounts of cortisol.
If you suffer from chronic stress or suffer from adrenal dysfunction, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our pharmacist will work with you and your doctor to come up with an adrenal dysfunction treatment plan that works for your situation.