Monday, September 28, 2009

Adrenal fatigue, Chronic fatigue syndrome

Dear Patients,

I would like to share with you a piece of my good news. I passed, after an Anti Aging conference this month, the written board examination of American Board of Anti Aging Medicine ,and will take the oral board exam next April. With most of the baby boomers entering their 50s', people began to notice an interesting topic - How To Keep People Healthier And Younger For As Long As They Could , which has become one of the national priority tasks because , with the advent of so many scientific discoveries like stem cell, nanotechnology, bioidentical hormones and new neutraceutical products, we now don't have to age the way our parents did.

On the other hand, however, the not so good news is that the general population suffering from abnormal adrenal functions increased from 20% some ten years ago to 80% up to date, according to one of the doctor’s observations . I myself noticed a lot more patients suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome which made them feel, most of the time, so tired that it hampered their jobs and family lives. After the deadly 911 catastrophe and the two fatal financial crushes, most of us feel physically unsafe and financially insecure and this is not a surprise.

Adrenal glands secret Cortisol is a stress hormone to help us deal with stressful situation and make fight-or-flight decision. When we are under chronic stress, our adrenal glands secret Cortisol is constantly in high level and that makes us anxious. Our adrenal glands eventually become exhausted and can not produce enough Cortisol for our need, and we easily feel tired.This is how our adrenal fatigue starts.

The common symptom of an adrenal fatigue is difficulty waking up until 10am, with a bit better feeling by noon but then get almost exhausted around 4pm. Most of the patients feel best around dinner time only to be followed by an hardly-able-to-keep-awake by 9pm. For people who force themselves to stay awake, get a second lease of energy by 11pm for a little while.

Blood test may not be the best way to detect Adrenal fatigue because patients usually get nervous when a needle is pointed at them and Cortisol level raises temporally. Adrenal saliva test done at 8am, noon, 4pm and 10pm will be the best way to detect Cortisol level throughout the day. Other causes of fatigue also need to be ruled out.

The Fundamental treatments on adrenal fatigue include the following steps :
1. Remove the reasons that cause the disease at the first place.
2. Adjust our life style to eat healthy, exercise properly and sleep restfully
3. Live a healthy life style with positive mindset to decrease the stress.

Since the above steps take months to revive the adrenal gland, I usually give my patients some natural help , instead.

The first one is herbal supplements that strengthen the adrenal glands, with the second, the adrenal glandular products from reliable source to revive the glands ,and the third, a short course of bioidentical cortisol hormone to give Adrenal glands a break so it heals and resumes normal function. I usually reserve the Cortisol for the very sick patients or for the ones who do not response to the first two treatments. The dose and schedule also got to be guided by experienced physicians so as not to suppress the normal function of the Adrenal gland. The Cortisol needs to be weaned off in few months so our healed adrenal glands can resume their normal functions. For the very stressed out patients, a course of acupuncture will do magic to relieve anxiety, regain the body balance and revive the stamina.

All our hormones synchronize like a symphony, with adrenal glands being the king of the hormone glands that play a crucial role in balancing our hormones. If hypothyroid patients do not improve with proper thyroid hormone replacement, it may be attributed to the depleted adrenal glands. A depleted Adrenal gland can not meet the need of increased metabolism induced by increased thyroid hormones.

Since both adrenal gland and thyroid dysfunction can cause fatigue, and many patients have been depleted both, I usually correct their adrenal gland and supplement patients with proper Iodine before I give them thyroid hormone. It works best that way.

It’s the turn of the season again. Enjoy the beautiful foliage and get soaked with the little sunshine left. It’s the best time to come in for your quarterly acupuncture tune up to get ready for the long winter. Have a healthy autumn.

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