In our modern-day society, we are constantly bombarded by stressors of all sorts. Our bodies need to constantly acclimate to that stress. The first line of defense in any stressful situation begins with the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands produce a variety of hormones, including one we have all heard of, adrenalin (or epinephrine). Adrenalin helps jump-start our bodies and minds into a protective withdrawal process as part of the self-survival mechanism, typically referred to as the fright – flight – fight response. These days we don’t come across life-threatening situations as often as we did in prehistoric days (when the saber-toothed tiger lived around the corner). But, unfortunately, we are under a lot more chronic long-term stress. This kind of stress, lasting sometimes for years, can eventually overburden our health, contributing toward sickness, ailments and illness. It can also cause an eventual “burnout” of the adrenal glands.
Signs and symptoms of functional hypoadrenia include (get ready, it’s a big list!): asthma, respiratory infections, hay fever, skin rash, colitis, ulcers, rheumatoid arthritis, insomnia, headache, fatigue, fainting, obesity, heart palpitations, edema, learning difficulties, anxiety, depression, premenstrual syndrome, low back pain, neck pain, photophobia, and hypertension. Some list, huh? And all of the above (in part), because of hypoadrenia from stress. Once our adrenal glands reach such a state of dysfunction, are they irreparably damaged? No! To the contrary, they can, and do, heal. And there is something we can do about it.
First and foremost, we must look toward our lifestyle choices to see if there are any stressors which can be reduced or eliminated. Stress comes in many shapes and sizes, and we must address it all. Stress can be emotional, as well as physical, environmental, temperature related, dietary or chemical. It can be one or all of the above, or any combination. Emotional and dietary stressors are, it is sad to say, at the top of the list.
Dietary stress is a good place to start. One must reduce or eliminate caffeine, refined sugar, cigarettes and alcohol consumption. Emotionally, try to address your difficulties in a positive fashion. Don’t remain stuck in the middle of a problem. Look at all the aforementioned stressors and try to methodically, over time, deal with them one step at a time. Eventually, the “list” will lessen and your health and happiness will be that much better.
(Dr. Richard Hanson, chiropractor and kinesiologist in Jamestown, New York, can be reached at (716)664-0445.Most major insurances are now being accepted.)