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Hypoadrenia, also known as adrenal fatigue, is a fairly common condition that affects the function of the adrenal glands. This condition is not as serious as Addison's disease, which also affects the adrenal glands, yet the adrenal fatigue symptoms may significantly interfere with a person's daily life. There are many ways to both diagnose and treat the condition at home, though a doctor is necessary to confirm the existence of the condition in the body.
In order to understand hypoadrenia, it is necessary to understand the function of the two primary adrenal glands. The adrenal medulla, part of the sympathetic nervous system, secretes adrenaline, which aids in human and animal reflexes and survival modes. Likewise, the adrenal cortex releases adrenal cortical hormones, such as cortisol, which suppresses certain normal body functions in order to focus all of the body's attention and energy on immediate survival needs. Such functions tend to be over-stressed and over-worked in the body of one who suffers from hypoadrenia.
The list of symptoms is quite extensive, though it may vary from person to person. Sufferers may have a tendency toward irritation and anxiety, a decreased sex drive, dizziness, and lethargy. Digestive discomfort or difficulty may be present as well. Adrenal fatigue often causes cravings for sugary, salty, or carbohydrate-rich foods and, for some, caffeine dependency. Chronically high cortisol levels may also add difficult-to-remove abdominal fat.
A postural hypotension test, which may be conducted at home with the aid of a blood pressure cuff, is a popular test in helping to diagnose hypoadrenia. The patient must first lie down long enough to relax and then take a blood pressure reading. After the cuff is inflated, the patient must stand up immediately and record the new reading. A drop in blood pressure, coupled with a slight faint feeling, may indicate adrenal fatigue, as someone without the syndrome would be more likely to experience a raise in blood pressure.
Dietary changes may reduce the symptoms of adrenal fatigue for many sufferers. It is recommended that someone with the condition limits his or her sugar intake, while adding more vitamins to his or her diet, such as C, B5, and B6. Vitamin C proves particularly advantageous, as it tends to be depleted by the body under stressful situations. This vitamin is additionally vital for the proper production of adrenal hormones. While a low-carb, low-sugar diet is recommended for those suffering from hypoadrenia, sodium intake does not necessarily need to be reduced, as sodium is an essential mineral in adrenal function.
Other remedies, aside from dietary modification, may also reduce the symptoms. A doctor may recommend that a sufferer takes phosphatidylserine, which is believed to repair potentially damaged cortisol receptors in the brain. Stress reduction tends to be the most highly recommended treatment, however, for normalizing cortisol levels. Some may find meditation, exercise, and the elimination of stimulants such as caffeine helpful as well.