Adrenal Fatigue: Is It Real?

Though people often blame their hormonal glands, such as the adrenals or thyroid, for their tiredness, Vigersky says in many cases fatigue is due to common problems such as:

  • Poor sleep habits
  • Poor diet
  • Stress at work or home
  • Depression

All of these can affect your energy level without involving your adrenal glands.

Fatigue is also a symptom of many diseases such as anemia, arthritis, diabetes, and heart failure, says Janet McGill, MD. She’s a hormone specialist at Washington University in St. Louis.

Medical Conditions That Affect Adrenal Glands

Your adrenal glands sit atop your kidneys like caps. Certain conditions can keep your adrenal glands from working well.

One of these is Addison’s disease. It’s sometimes referred to as primary adrenal insufficiency.

If you have Addison’s disease, your adrenal glands don’t make enough hormones. Unlike adrenal fatigue, this is an illness that doctors can test and recognize. In most cases of this disease, the adrenal glands have been damaged by the immune system.

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