Adrenal Stress Index
The concept of stress has invaded every aspect of our lives. Everyone has experienced it at one time or another. Most often the word “stress” is associated with a negative event or situation. However, “stress” is actually any situation that asks your body to adapt or change.
That being said, stress can be negative in such an event as a loss of a family member, or divorce, a negative home or work environment, or even an illness of yourself or another. However, the body will also see positive things in your life as stress if it causes a change. Changes such as marriage, a new baby, or even an exciting change in career all affect your stress levels.
Outside of mental stress, additional burden can also be placed on the body’s stress-response system by various lifestyle factors such as consuming too much sugar, unhealthy dieting, excessive amounts of caffeine or alcohol, inflammation, or not getting enough sleep.
Everyone’s stress threshold is different and so are his or her reactions to it. Adrenal stress testing is a simple way to see how stress may be affecting you.
What Causes Stress?
ANYTHING WE ASK OUR BODY, EITHER PHYSICALLY OR MENTALLY, TO HANDLE IS SEEN BY THE BODY AS A STRESSOR.
The Adrenal Glands are small glands that sit above the kidney; they are the stress regulating system of our body. The adrenal glands secrete cortisol in a 24-hour cycle with the highest amount released in the morning and the lowest amount released at night. The reason for this release pattern is related to the amount of energy needed during the day, which tapers off as evening approaches, ending in a relaxing state for sleep. Certain situations such a stressful event, emotional fatigue, inflammation, skipping meals or sleep disruptions can cause the adrenals to secrete unhealthy cortisol levels. Abnormal cortisol levels can have widespread effects throughout the body and may contribute to many of the health conditions you are experiencing today.
If you have more than two in one of the below listed categories, you may be suffering from some level of adrenal dysfunction.
Cortisol levels can influence:
- Energy levels
- Bone health
- Energy levels
- Immune system function
- Sleep quality
- Skin integrity
- Thyroid health
- Muscle strength
- Brain function
- Emotional health
People with Adrenal dysfunction may have symptoms such as:
- Weight gain
- Weight loss
- Blood sugar deregulation
- Thyroid abnormalities
- Mental problems
- Digestive issues
- Hormone imbalances
- Immune/Autoimmune conditions
- Cardiovascular symptoms
- Blood pressure issues
People with Chronic Stress can experience:
- Difficulty getting up in the morning
- Fatigue after sleep
- Cravings for sugar or salty foods
- Lack of energy
- Increased effort to do everyday tasks
- Decreased sex drive
- Decreased ability to handle stress
- Light-headed when standing up quickly
- Sensitive to light
- Less enjoyment out of life
- Inability to focus
- Decreased tolerance of others
- Decreased productivity
- Worsening symptoms
- Increased anxiety
- Always feeling cold
What is Adrenal Stress Testing?
Adrenal stress testing is a noninvasive way to evaluate the effects of stress on your body. The test is a saliva test done over a 24-hour period, which screens for both hormone and immune markers that may be affected by stress and other related conditions.
So, if you are overwhelmed by all the tasks that your life demands of you, if you get caught in a spiral of self-doubt, anguish, anxiety, feelings of being out of control, when it is all you can do to get out of bed in the morning, this could be a sign that you are experiencing some level of adrenal fatigue or even adrenal exhaustion.
Use of caffeine (coffee, soda, tea) or other stimulants may keep you going but will actually worsen the overall condition as these chemicals only increase the stress load on your adrenals…
If any of this sounds like you OR someone you know, it is not too late to take back control of your health!