Everything You Need to Know About Adrenal Insufficiency

Everything You Need to Know About Adrenal Insufficiency

Mar 26, 2018, 5:55:02 PM Life and Styles

Adrenal gland aids in producing many different hormones and are quite essential for overall wellbeing. However, its deficiency can sometimes be difficult to detect.

These glands secrete hormones that are important for detecting the stress level in human body. Adrenal insufficiency and fatigue can make it difficult for a person to deal with the stress and pressure.

Ideally, the human body has two adrenal glands located right above the kidneys. These glands aid in secreting hormones and are made of two different parts, viz.

  • The adrenal cortex:

It’s the outer part of the gland that produces cortisol, a hormone, which helps in regulating metabolism and stress level in the body.

  • The adrenal medulla:

It’s the inner part of the gland that aids in producing hormones like adrenaline, which helps you react to stressful situations.

Increased cortisol level can give rise to

  • High blood sugar
  • Weaker immune system
  • Muscle breakdown and many more

What Are the Signs Of Adrenal Insufficiency?

Some of the symptoms of adrenal insufficiency include:

  • Fatigue
  • Low blood pressure
  • Sugar and iodine cravings
  • Shakiness
  • Dizziness while standing
  • Body aches and muscle pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Sleep disorders
  • Low libido
  • Hair fall or hair loss
  • Blur vision
  • Allergies
  • Thyroid imbalances
  • Infertility

How to Diagnose Adrenal Hormones?

There is two basic adrenal hormone test viz. urine test and the blood test, which help in measuring the adrenal gland disorders. The patient is injected with ACTH and CRH which will stimulate adrenal glands, and the cortisol level is then noted. At the time of treatment, the natural hormones that the adrenal glands secrete are replaced by synthetic ones to make it look natural.

Patients mostly rely on blood tests to detect the presence of adrenal gland; the blood test will gauge:

 The cortisol level:            

Checking the cortisol level or the blood cortisol is one of the basic tests which are used to measure the functionality of adrenal glands. Since the cortisol level keeps on increasing and decreasing through the day, it becomes difficult for doctors to detect from a single sample. Therefore, multiple samples are considered to identify the functioning adrenal glands.

Adrenal Stimulation Test:

Another method to detect the adrenal gland functioning is to measure cortisol level before and after the simulation of these glands. In this test, the cortisol is measured, and the patient is given the synthetic form of ACTH which is called as cosyntropin. The blood cortisol is then again measured after some time to see the response of cosyntropin to the adrenal glands. If the blood cortisol level decreases, the adrenal gland will not work properly.

Adrenocorticotropin Hormone:

ACTH or adrenocorticotropin hormone is made by the pituitary gland to stimulate the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. These hormone aims to access the adrenal function which means patients with poor functioning of adrenal glands will have high ACTH level. If these glands are not working properly, the pituitary will secrete more ACTH hormones to produce more cortisol.

Corticotropin-releasing Hormones:

This is another test that is used to test adrenal gland function. In this test, the low level of ATCH and cortisols are measured and then the corticotrophin-releasing hormones. Once done, a chemical that will help in stimulating the release of ACTH is injected, and the level of each hormone is measured at specific intervals. Ideally, the cortisol level should increase after the injection of corticotropin-releasing hormone, failing which the patient is suffering from adrenal malfunctioning.

How to Deal With Adrenal Fatigue

The best treatment to cure the adrenal fatigue is to treat stress, and one of the best ways to be stress-free is to build a routine.

 You can try:

  • Do something relaxing like a walk in the park or yoga or perhaps meditation
  • Do not overeat
  • Don’t over-exercise
  • Have a protein-rich diet
  • Take a good amount of sleep
  • Increase your regular intake of fruits and nuts
  • Say no to alcohol, sugar, dairy and gelatin products.

The Most Common Adrenal Gland Disorders Are

Adrenal Gland Tumors: This tumor can cause high cortisol level which is called as Cushing's syndrome and can also lead to hyperaldosteronism and pheochromocytoma

Adrenocortical carcinoma:

  • It develops in the outer layer of the adrenal gland
  • It spread to the organs if not detected on time

Pituitary Tumors:

These glands are located at the base of the brain and releases hormones that hamper body functions.


It’s a part of the family of tumors called paragangliomas. It develops in the adrenal medulla and produces a high level of adrenaline hormone in the body.


It occurs when the body produces high aldosterone, the hormone that aids in regulating body’s salt and potassium level in the body as well as the one that controls the blood pressure in the body.

Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CHA):

It’s the most common disorder in which the body produces little or less cortisol. Patients suffering from this will feel hormonal imbalances.

The Diet of an Adrenal Patient

Diet plays a significant role in providing all necessary nutrients that aids in retaining the lost energy in the adrenal gland. The patients should avoid hard digesting foods, coffee, sugar, synthetic sweeteners, processed foods, hydrogenated oils and packed food. However, consume Himalayan sea salt, cruciferous veggies, seaweed, pumpkin, seeds, healthy oils, almonds, avocado, fatty fish, organic ghee, butter, walnuts, olive oil and other healthy fats.

Lesser Known Facts Adrenal Gland

  • Managing adrenal stress hormones while consuming caffeine become difficult
  • Sometimes, chronic stress level can lead to the loss of magnesium
  • The adrenal hormones are made from cholesterol
  • A patient needs a high quantity of cholesterol, minerals and B vitamins to make adrenal hormones
  • Speed disorders also lead to high adrenal stress hormones
  • Eating high sugar and white floor increases the chance of high insulin in the body
  • Avoiding stress can reduce the strain on the adrenal glands

If you want to improve your adrenal health and want to live a healthy life, get diagnosed the adrenal gland. Try adopting a healthy regime, often exercise and eat healthily. Also, make sure to avoid alcohol.  

Published by Janice Cook

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