The last I checked, zombies are not real. However, we do have a chronic fatigue epidemic in which millions of adults are walking around like zombies on a daily basis.
We live in a stressful world in which our bodies are overworked, and stressed. To cope with the stress, we rely on caffeine stimulants, sugary snacks for energy, poor food choices, excessive use of technology, and alcohol.
To make matters worse, we are not getting enough quality sleep, and the cycle of caffeine, sugar, poor food choices, technology, and alcohol intake repeats.
Why is Fatigue an Issue?
When our bodies are fatigued, we are not on our “A-Game.” Fatigue not only impacts us physically, but it also takes a toll on us mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
If the fatigue is left untreated properly, then our bodies eventually break down, and we become susceptible to chronic diseases, such as Addison’s disease (also defined as adrenal gland failure), which needs to be treated with cortisol shots.
Adrenal fatigue is also another major concern. Adrenal fatigue is diagnosed at different stages and depending on where a patient is on the spectrum they can be very high or very low. In many cases, adrenal fatigue is secondary to other underlying health issues, such as chronic or hidden inflammation.
A mild form of adrenal insufficiency occurs when our adrenal glands are over stressed. The primary role of our adrenal glands is to produce and regulate cortisol – a stress hormone. Adrenal glands also produce sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone, epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine, dopamine, and neurotransmitters.
Ultimately, these hormones and neurotransmitters regulate essential components of our body, such as our metabolism. They also communicate with other organs, such as the brain, reproductive system, and our kidneys.
Chronic stress can suppress our adrenal glands, which leads to insufficient amounts of cortisol being released. Over time, high levels of cortisol can lead to insulin resistance (pre-diabetes), a weakening of the immune system, loss of muscle, and many other health issues.
Common Signs of Chronic or Adrenal Fatigue:
- Getting tired for no reason
- Poor concentration
- Having trouble getting up in the mornings
- Relying on caffeine or energy drinks to keep going
- Having trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep
- Poor memory
- Chronic pain
- Menstrual cycle irregularities
- Either getting sick often or never getting sick
- Chronic allergies
- Bruising easily
- Healing slowly from injuries
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Low blood pressure
- Dizziness when standing
- Low libido
- Hair loss
- Blurred vision
- Thyroid imbalance
- Lightheaded after skipping a meal
- Salt and sugar cravings
How to Properly Treat Chronic or Adrenal Fatigue
Unfortunately, fatigue is usually not properly treated when seeing a conventional doctor. Good advice may be provided, such as getting better quality sleep and cutting back on alcohol. However, the advice is not tailored specifically to the underlying conditions that are causing patients to experience chronic or adrenal fatigue.
This is where functional medicine can help. For when you see a properly trained functional medicine doctor, he or she will be able to listen to the symptoms and lifestyles to accurately assess whether or not a patient has adrenal fatigue. If the patient does have adrenal fatigue, then specific tests can be performed to determine the root cause(s).
In many cases, the causes can be eye-opening for patients as they may discover how factors, such as eliminating certain foods from the diet or even reducing exposure to certain toxins can help improve their condition.
Then from here, the functional medicine doctor can work on a tailored-specific game plan to help patients beat their symptoms, regain their energy, and feel like themselves again.
Stress is reaching an epidemic proportion due to our fast-paced and overworked lifestyles. If stress is not treated correctly, then patients run the risk of not only walking around like zombies with little energy to perform at optimal levels, but they can also develop chronic diseases. Getting help from a functional medicine doctor is the key to helping you live and be healthier, for many more years to come.
Meet Dr. Neil Spiegel
For over 20 years in osteopathic medicine, Dr. Spiegel has applied traditional and alternative methods to diagnose and treat his patients. He has a special interest in caring for patients with acute and chronic musculoskeletal and neurologic pain syndromes. Dr. Spiegel has received numerous professional and volunteerism honors including Top Doctor Survey Awards and the State of Maryland Volunteer Service Award. He also serves on the Board of Directors of a free clinic serving the uninsured in Montgomery County, Maryland.