The Dr. Lam Show

Adrenal Fatigue Vs Adrenal Insufficiency: How To Tell The Difference

February 04, 2024 Dr. Lam
The Dr. Lam Show
Adrenal Fatigue Vs Adrenal Insufficiency: How To Tell The Difference
Show Notes Transcript

Are you fatigued and wondering if your adrenal glands are to blame? Adrenal insufficiency can cause fatigue as well as other troubling symptoms. But if you get tested for this condition and your results are normal, then here’s another potential cause you need to consider.

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Dr. Jeremy Lam, MD:

Adrenal Fatigue versus adrenal insufficiency, how to tell the difference. Hi everyone and welcome to this quick look at adrenal insufficiency versus adrenal fatigue and what these conditions could mean for your health. Now, adrenal insufficiency and adrenal fatigue can actually look very, very similar. And they both involve the adrenal glands, which are your main anti stress organ system that's responsible for fighting off stress and producing cortisol, which is your main anti stress hormone. Cortisol really affects all tissues and organ systems in the body. Cortisol rises in the morning, so wakes you up in the morning and then drops down low throughout the day. It also helps to regulate your metabolism, regulate inflammation, immune system, as well as maintain the functions of the heart and the blood vessels. So when your cortisol levels are low, it can cause havoc on your body, and they cause symptoms that are associated with both adrenal fatigue and adrenal insufficiency, such as fatigue, sugar imbalances, irritability, brain fog, low blood pressure, and salt cravings as well. These two conditions are so similar then how can you tell them apart? Well, adrenal insufficiency, otherwise known as Addison's disease, is a medical condition that has been around for quite a while and it affects very small population about four out of 100,000 people. When you have this condition, your adrenal glands can't make enough cortisol, and really the only way to address it is to take steroids for the rest of your life. There are two types of adrenal insufficiency. The first is known as primary adrenal insufficiency, where your adrenals are not able to secrete the stress hormone cortisol because of illness, injury, or autoimmune disease. Secondary adrenal insufficiency is because your pituitary gland which is in the brain fails to send a signal to the adrenal glands to make more cortisol. Adrenal Fatigue is a little different. It's subclinical, which means you will have fatigue, you have some of the same symptoms as adrenal insufficiency, but your adrenal glands are still working and they're still putting out cortisol. This is why adrenal fatigue often isn't able to be detected via testing because your cortisol levels may come back normal when tested. It's because when you're under so much stress, that it's putting pressure on your adrenal glands and causing imbalance throughout your body circuit. This means that adrenal fatigue usually involves others components of your body that are quite apart. This means that adrenal fatigue also affects other components part of your body, and that's why when you do have adrenal fatigue, you may experience other symptoms such as cardiac symptoms, issues with your metabolic system, body aches relating to poor detoxification, gut issues related to high inflammation. You can have insomnia, depression, anxiety relating to your neuroaffect or your brain as well. Another difference is Adrenal Fatigue is caused by ongoing stress when you're when. Another difference is that Adrenal Fatigue is caused by ongoing stress. This stress can come in a number of sources such as work pressures, negativity, poor health, inflammatory diet, sedentary lifestyle, mood disorders, grief, unhappy relationships, and unhealthy environment, medications, poor sleep, pollutants and toxins, emotional stress, as well as chronic disease. Why is it important that you know the difference between adrenal fatigue and adrenal insufficiency? That's because the path to recovery is very, very different. With adrenal insufficiency it's only your adrenal glands that are dysfunctional. So taking steroids should solve most of your problems. But when you do have adrenal fatigue, your recovery path needs to be quite different. taking steroids can be part of this recovery journey, but that should be last resort, as they're very strong and can have lasting effects on the body. Instead, your recovery from Adrenal Fatigue should involve strategies and therapies that address all the involved symptoms and components of your body. So if you experience fatigue that just is not go away, then visit your doctor first, they'll be able to perform a test to help you determine the health of your adrenal glands, and whether adrenal insufficiency is involved. If your tests come back normal, then it's time to take a deeper look to really consider if adrenal fatigue is a factor or not. Thank you for listening today and we hope that you got something helpful and learning the difference between the adrenal fatigue and adrenal insufficiency. Make sure you subscribe to learn more about adrenal fatigue. And remember that we're here to empower you to take control of your health. teaser. Are you fatigued and wondering if your adrenals are to blame? Listen in and as we talked about the difference between adrenal fatigue and adrenal insufficiency. If you do have your adrenals tested and turn out that your lab results come back normal, then adrenal fatigue would be another potential cause for your fatigue that you want to consider.