Stress Facts You Must Know to Avoid Adrenal Fatigue

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH


Stress facts and extreme fatigue causesWhen you live a fast-paced life, experiencing stress is all too common. The problem is that people often downplay stress and its effects on the body. Because of this, many are suffering from stress-related conditions like Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) without even realizing it. That’s why it’s so important to know all the stress facts.

What is Stress?

From a clinical perspective, stress is defined as your body’s reaction to any type of change that requires a response or adjustment. Your body is forced to react to these changes mentally, emotionally, and even physically. Any sudden change in your life can be uncomfortable, and can trigger the fight-or-flight response.

Under normal circumstances, your body is capable of handling short-lived periods of stress. Once that stress has been averted or effectively managed without any serious damage to your health, your body can return to functioning normally again. However, if stress is constant and unrelenting, the consequences can be dire.

Stress Facts: The Connection between Stress and Adrenal Fatigue

Stressful situations are typically dealt with by the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response system, composed of six interconnected circuits that work both independently and together to help your body address stress.

Among these circuits, the hormone circuit is comprised of the adrenal glands, reproductive system, and thyroid. Once stress is detected, your adrenal glands start producing more of the primary stress hormone cortisol.

Your adrenals generally produce more cortisol during stressful times and as the stress subsides, your cortisol output is reduced. However, chronic stress forces the adrenal glands to continue producing excess cortisol and other stress-related hormones until they become fatigued and can no longer keep up with demand. If this happens, your body will suffer from a severe hormone imbalances.

So, as you can see, stress can easily wreak havoc on your health without warning. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to recognize sources of stress and to develop better management strategies so that stress doesn’t escalate and become chronic.

Stress Facts: Sources of Stress

Stress Facts: Using caffeine and other stimulants to prop up the body masks the way stress can be part of some extreme fatigue causesAs you’ll soon discover, sources of stress vary tremendously. Stress can emerge in any aspect of your life, triggered by emotion, food and drink, activities, or even household items you use on a daily basis.

To give you a better idea, here are some stress facts that explain common sources of stress.

Expectations

At certain moments in life, you may have decided to plan things out. But unfortunately, things don’t always go according to plan. If you allow this to upset you, it can increase your stress levels dramatically. At the same time, you might become pessimistic and develop a more negative outlook on life.

Doubts

Wondering whether a threat is real or imaginary will cause you to become stressed almost immediately. This is because doubt can easily increase your stress levels, even if you’re in a calm situation. As long as doubt is present in your thoughts, you won’t be able to relax. In the end, you may become quite worrisome.

Sports

In many ways, becoming active and getting involved in sports can be quite beneficial to your overall health. For starters, it ensures your body gets enough exercise. At the same time, sports can be a great way to make new friends and forge relationships that can become your social support network in the long run. But sport can also be a source of stress, especially if you are highly competitive or often overdo it.

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Gadgets

In today’s world, gadgets have become extremely useful. However, they can also be a source of stress. For instance, smartphones and email have made it near impossible to separate work from personal life. Since they make it easier stay in touch with your work, you may find yourself always on-call or continuously working while foregoing rest—even when you’re at home. This exposes you to more work stress.

Major Life Changes

Major life changes are often the ones that are hardest to adjust to. This might be moving to a new city or taking a new job. Both of these events can take a major mental toll on your body and cause stress.

Caffeine

Beverages such as coffee and tea contain significant amounts of caffeine and can worsen stress levels. In fact, a study from the United Kingdom found that caffeine intake is positively correlated with anxiety, stress, and even depression.

Stress Facts: Easy Ways to Avoid Stress

Stress facts: How gadgets affect your healthNow that you’re aware of some important stress facts, what can you do to cope with stress? More importantly, how can you prevent stress from triggering adrenal fatigue?

It should be noted that certain solutions to stress might not suitable for your current health status, especially if you are suffering from any physical ailments. Moreover, you may have an allergy or intolerance to a particular oral stress remedy. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to consult with a physician before trying any of these remedies on your own.

That being said, here are some solutions you can try to help you manage stress better and avoid it where possible.

Start using a stress diary

Take the time to jot down your thoughts and feelings every day. That way, you can go over your notes and hopefully discover exactly what is triggering your stress. The following day, take steps to keep those triggers from happening again.

Get involved in more physical activities

Exercise has been found to lower the levels of stress hormones in the body. At the same time, it can help release more endorphins, which are chemicals that naturally improve your mood.

Consider taking stress relief supplements

Certain supplements can help you relax and keep stress at bay. For example, ashwagandha may be effective against both anxiety and stress. Moreover, omega-3 supplements have been shown to reduce anxiety symptoms by as much as 20 percent. However, before taking any of these supplements, finding a healthcare practitioner who understands your body is key. If you suffer from adrenal fatigue, your body may not tolerate certain supplements since your metabolism may have slowed down and you may be experiencing congestion owing to detoxification circuit dysfunction.

As you can see, there are many ways to effectively avoid stress so that you can live a happier healthier life. At the same time, remember all of these important stress facts so that you would always be aware of how easily stress can affect your health.

 
© Copyright 2015 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.


Dr. Lam’s Key Question

When it comes to stress facts, you need to remember that stress can occur as a result of many different triggers. These can include your doubts, expectations, major life changes, sports, and caffeine. If you don’t make an effort to reduce stress, it could lead to adrenal fatigue.


Stress facts