FAQ: What Are Some Symptoms of Exhaustion and Stress

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH


Innocuous symptoms such as craving salty foods may be symptoms of exhaustion and stress. Be attentive and listen to your body.Q: Why do I always crave salt? Could this be a sign of exhaustion and stress?

A: There are many signs of exhaustion and stress, but craving salt may be a symptom of aldosterone hormonal imbalance. My article called “Fluid Balance and AFS” should be a good educational tool for you. In short, the hormonal imbalance causes a dysregulation of fluid levels in the body, which in turn trigger a subtle deficiency of salt. The body sends signals to the brain when it feels this deficiency, which the brain interprets as a salt craving.


Q: When a client has finished the program, are they cured of adrenal fatigue or are they just better educated on how to deal with it?

A: AFS is actually a Stress Induced Neuroendocrine syndrome. So it is up to how you allow exhaustion and stress to affect your daily activities that will determine how healthy your adrenal glands are. Once the body has recovered and the adrenal glands have been repaired to the point that stressors no longer have a dysregulating effect on the body, you will no longer be experiencing the symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue. However, Adrenal Fatigue is a condition unlike an infection or other acute disease in that while bacteria or viruses can be removed from the body, stress will never be eliminated. With the cause of Adrenal Fatigue, stress, continuing to be ever present, it must be managed and kept at bay with a healthy lifestyle.


Q: Is there a correlation to Addison’s Disease and Adrenal Fatigue?

A: Addison Disease is when the body can’t make any cortisol, while AFS is when the adrenal glands are stressed and there is a reduction in cortisol production. The symptoms of these conditions show some similarities in that they both are failures of the adrenal glands to compensate for stress, however their root causes and therefore their management and recovery are different.


Q: If a woman can maintain a pregnancy into the second trimester without a miscarriage, what kind of issues should women with Adrenal Fatigue expect during pregnancy?

A: They should feel good. It is after the pregnancy that the postpartum blues or fatigue or anxiety symptoms may flare up.


Q: Is high lipoprotein A connected to Adrenal Fatigue?

A: No.


Symptoms of exhaustion and stress can include changes in you body that make you more susceptible to allergies and sensitivities.Q: Are too many histamines being produced as a result of Adrenal Fatigue?

A: Yes, Allergic (food or chemical or sensitivity) and asthmatic reactions usually have strong adrenal components. Many allergies involve the release of histamine and other pro-inflammatory substances. The body’s response is to produce cortisol, a strong anti-inflammatory hormone. Exhaustion and stress weaken the adrenal glands. The weaker the adrenals, the higher the frequency of allergies. This is because the more histamine released, the more cortisol it takes to control the inflammatory response and the harder the adrenals have to work to produce more cortisol. When the adrenals are eventually exhausted, cortisol output is compromised, allowing unopposed histamine to inflame the bodily tissues more. This vicious circle can lead to progressively deepening adrenal exhaustion and increasingly severe symptoms of exhaustion and stress such as allergic reactions.

Left unattended, symptoms of exhaustion and stress gradually make easy tasks such as getting out of bed in the morning more difficult.Q: I have a really hard time getting out of bed but once I do, I feel fine. Is there anything I can do to help with that?

A: In the morning, your body’s output of cortisol helps to get your body ready to get out of bed. So you need to look at your issues as a whole, and not just a single component. The body’s biological clock is governed by the circadian cycle, and that is dependent on all of the body systems functioning normally. If any of the neuroendometabolic stress response circuits are dysregulated due to excessive stress, the body will likely not be able to maintain a regular and healthy circadian cycle and you will often feel tired in the morning or too awake to fall asleep at night.


Q: Can Adrenal Fatigue make it difficult for injuries, such as sprains, to heal?

A: The weaker the adrenals, the harder it is for the body to self heal and the slower the healing process. When exhaustion and stress are attended to and decreased through lifestyle changes, diet, low -impact exercise, proper sleep, and other healthy changes, the body can begin to heal.


Q: Whenever I eat, I get really warm and sweaty. What causes this to happen?

A: That is not very common. Your body may be reacting to a metabolic load that it cannot handle, such as too much sugar; or it can be certain types of food sensitivities that can trigger allergic responses leading to an increase in blood flow. Usually this is self-limiting. If not, check with your doctor if you have these symptoms.


© Copyright 2016 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.


Exhaustion and stress