The adrenal glands are located in the body just above the kidneys. Their job is to produce and release certain regulatory hormones. These hormones control the “fight-flight” reactions of the body’s central nervous system and respond to highly charged emotional situations. The other function of the adrenals is to manufacture steroids and sex hormones. Along with helping to manage stress, the various hormones produced help control blood pressure, blood sugar, fluid balance and a myriad of metabolic functions. The main cause of adrenal dysfunction also called adrenal fatigue is stress, of all kinds, ranging from emotional reactions to life’s challenges, to responses by the body to illnesses and nutritional deficiencies. Testing for adrenal dysfunction is necessary to help avoid the more serious adrenal failure whose onset can arise from long term, unchecked stress creating adrenal dysfunction. Checking the health of your adrenal glands can be done on your own with a few self tests and with the help of a trained healthcare practitioner.
Adrenal Testing Methods and Tools
· Seek a practitioner who has been trained to recognize and treat adrenal fatigue. Many conventional doctors are not familiar with testing for adrenal fatigue, being only able to administer blood tests that indicate adrenal failure, known as Addison’s Disease.
· Ask your holistic health practitioner to administer blood, urine and saliva tests to determine the condition of your adrenal glands.
· Use a home saliva test several times during the day to check cortisol levels as well as DHEA, epinephrine and nor epinephrine, whose levels can help determine the health of your adrenals and appropriate treatments.
· Self screen for adrenal fatigue using the blood pressure test known as Ragland’s sign. You need a home blood pressure monitor to do this test. Take your blood pressure when sitting down. Then stand up and immediately repeat taking your blood pressure. They first number or systolic pressure should rise at least 8-10 mm. If it drops, this is an indicator of adrenal dysfunction.
· While looking in a mirror, shine a flashlight into one eye. The pupil should contract. If after 30 seconds with the light shining in your eye, the pupil dilates, this likely indicates adrenal fatigue.
· Check for tenderness in the mid-back where the ribs attach to the spine in the region of the kidneys. Pain in this region is another indicator of poorly functioning the adrenal glands.
· Notice other aspects of your health and how you are feeling. Some other common symptoms of adrenal gland fatigue are low blood sugar and low blood pressure, extreme fatigue and reduced mental alertness, chilliness, depression, weight loss, hair loss, digestive disorders, craving salty foods, muscle and joint pain, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and the list goes on.
Because the symptoms for adrenal fatigue mimic symptoms of other disorders and conditions, especially those of thyroid disease and menopause, it is important to have medical assistance to confirm a proper diagnosis.
For more information on Adrenal problems see: Common Symptoms and Signs of Adrenal Fatigue – Is This You?
(Photo Credit: Ra Moyano)
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