Adrenal Fatigue: A Stealthy Culprit Setting Us Up To Be Sad, Sick, Fat And Older Faster

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By Genie James

Adrenal Fatigue: A Stealthy Culprit Setting Us Up to Be Sad, Sick, Fat and Older Faster

(Or, What Happens When Superwoman Stubs Her Toe!)

stressStress can make us tense and sick. It can also make us fat. Worst of all, it will accelerate our aging. I should know…I am unfortunately the “poster girl” for repeat bouts of adrenal fatigue. Let me first define adrenal fatigue, then explain how you and I get set up for it. In upcoming weeks, if you are interested, I will also share a few tips for turning adrenal fatigue and the ravages of stress around.

Our adrenal glands produce three stress hormones: adrenaline, cortisol and DHEA. Short-term, urgent stress – such as seeing your five year old reach for a hot skillet or having your husband ask you to watch him sky dive – triggers a rush of adrenaline. Long-term, chronic stress has a different impact at a cellular level.

Chronic stress is defined as a circumstance that exists for three months or more. Some more common chronic stressors for women include ongoing financial pressures, single motherhood, caring for an ill and aging parent, attempting to juggle a heavy workload and home life, or attempting to discipline an irascible teenager. Chronic stress causes the adrenal glands to, first, produce an overabundance of cortisol; however, once this supply is exhausted, cortisol levels plummet.

Clinical studies show that too high or too low cortisol levels pack pounds around the waist. And, according to American experts from the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), “Persistent or chronic stress has the potential to put individuals at a substantially increased risk of depression, anxiety and many other emotional difficulties.” Randy (C.W. Randolph, Jr, MD) cautions: “Long-term adrenal exhaustion is dangerous because it can:

• Slow down healing and normal cell regeneration.

• Co-opt parent molecules needed to make other vital hormones.

• Impair digestion, metabolism and mental function.

• Interfere with healthy endocrine function.

• Weaken our immune system.”

stresssleepingI was first diagnosed with adrenal fatigue in 2002. At the time I was to the outside world a successful corporate get-it-done-girl, heading the sales team for multi-million dollar healthcare company. Unfortunately, high-pressure expectations combined with dawn-to-midnight seven day work weeks and none-too-glamorous jet-setting from meeting to meeting ultimately did me in. I was depressed, constantly sick with colds and/or flu, and had the vitality of an old mushroom. In the mirror, I sadly saw how I also resembled that mushroom.

My second adrenal collapse occurred in 2007 on the heels of the death of one of my best friends, Smiles Randolph (Randy’s mother). As any of you know who have cared for an ill or dying parent, love cannot neutralize the brutal effects of the worry and inevitable thirty-six hours days. Even though my caretaking stint was of much shorter duration than that of Smiles’s loving three daughters, I was once again down for the count. It took months before I felt like myself again. The new wrinkles around my eyes, however, were there to stay. Honestly, that’s okay. I think of Smiles’s twinkly eyes and a few creases on my own face are a small price to pay.

This last time I should have known better, seen the warning signs. In late September I was feeling in high-cotton having wine and cheese with female venture capitalists in Silicon Valley while I pitched my new women’s health business idea. Then word came (and I got your emails!) that there were serious customer service issues back home in our medical practice. I debated and delayed for a few days. How can I finish my new book, continue to champion my new business idea while also stepping back into day-to-day operations? I wondered. A chorus of well-meaning friends and colleagues encouraged, “Of course you can do it all.”

I listened. Wrong choice. Let me assure you that I, for one, am testimony that fifty-three year old wannabe Superwomen end up with headaches, hemorrhoids, depression, droopy jowls, listless days and nights…and adrenal fatigue. Is there hope for the hyper-achieving me, and possibly you? Yes, there is.

It would seem as if I am finally becoming wiser. I do wish that were the case. The truth is that for months I ran around like a crazy woman moving mountains and pulling miracle-level achievements out of my bazoom; then something unforeseen brought me to a screeching, hobbling halt.

I’ve just had labwork done to determine just how suppressed my adrenal system might be. After my labwork is in, I will look to my personal physician, Lori Leaseburge, MD, to advise me if additional nutritional supplementation is recommended. In the meantime, I have finished my new book but am putting my new business idea on hold for now. “Doing it all” was about to “do me in.” Instead, I am resting more and taking more and more “good and needed” activities off my plate.

It would seem as if I am finally becoming wiser. I do wish that were the case. The truth is that for months I ran around like a crazy woman moving mountains and pulling miracle-level achievements out of my bazoom; then something unforeseen brought me to a screeching, hobbling halt.

I broke my big toe in a yoga class. Don’t laugh. It hurt, and still hurts, but Divine intervention or not, this toe-thing has slowed me down to a crawl. Irregularly, I am finding myself grateful. It is forcing me to make different, better, more discerning choices…

What will it take for you to slow down and live the one life the best woman in you has to live?

– Genie James is an Author, Speaker, Business Owner and Liftoff Activist for women and girls.
As a trailblazer in natural women’s health, personalized medicine and relationship-centered care, Genie first turned the traditional medical community on its ear with Making Managed Care Work (McGraw-Hill, 1997) and Winning in the Women’s Healthcare Marketplace (Jossey-Bass, 2000). She is the co-author of From Belly Fat to Belly Flat (Health Communications, Inc. 2007; now in five languages), and From Hormone Hell to Hormone Well (Health Communication, Inc. 2009; winner of the 2010 National Consumer Health Information Bronze Award) with her husband C.W. Randolph, Jr., M.D., R.Ph. Genie’s fifth book In the Mood Again (Simon and Schuster 2010) offers hope and solutions for the over forty million American women and men living in low-sex, no-sex relationships. THE FOUNTAIN OF TRUTH! Outsmart Hype, False Hope and Heredity to Recalibrate How You Age (Health Communications, Inc. April 2013) is a recommended toolbox that every woman will need to healthily and happily navigate the decades. For more information: agelessandwellness.com

Let’s Move (faster) On Childhood Obesity

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boyhamburgerFrom Your Health Journal…..I always enjoy articles by Mr. Geoffrey Cowley, and I found one today on MSNBC entitled Let’s Move (faster) On Childhood Obesity. As we know, childhood obesity is on the rise all over the world, as some even predict this could be the first generation of children whose life expectancy may be shorter than their parents….and let’s hope not – and try to reverse this trend. Many children have heart disease, high risks of cancer, getting type 2 diabetes (which at one time, was called “Adult Onset Diabetes” as it was thought to only affect adults), poor joints, and low self esteem. Heart disease is still the number one killer in the United States. Change is needed, and quickly. A third of the nation’s children are now overweight and 17% are obese—a threefold increase in just four decades. Kids haven’t changed fundamentally since the 1970s, but their world has. Please take the time to visit the MSNBC site to read Mr. Cowley’s article (link provided below). Tell others to read it as well, as it is a very important piece to read.”

From the article…..

Michelle Obama chose well and aimed high when she took on childhood obesity four years ago. There is no clearer threat to America’s long-term health, and no question about the need for collective action. A third of the nation’s children are now overweight and 17% are obese—a threefold increase in just four decades. Kids haven’t changed fundamentally since the 1970s, but their world has. It’s now a carnival of cheap calories—brightly packaged, aggressively marketed, nutritionally bankrupt—that make healthful eating an unlikely act of resistance. “We need you all to step it up,” the first lady urged food manufacturers after launching her “Let’s Move” initiative in early 2010. “We need you not just to tweak around the edges but to entirely rethink the products that you’re offering, the information that you provide about these products and how you market those products to our children…What does it mean when so many parents are finding that their best efforts are undermined by an avalanche of advertisements?”

That bold spirit vanished at critical moments during President Obama’s first term. Despite some major advances in food policy—notably an overhaul of the federal school lunch program and a national rule requiring chain restaurants to post calorie counts on menus—the administration has dropped or delayed other nutritional measures to appease the food and beverage industries. And Let’s Move has become more a jumping-jacks campaign than reform movement. With guns, immigration and climate change crowding the president’s second-term agenda, health advocates fear that food and nutrition issues may be sidelined yet again. But with focus and resolve, this administration could still reverse the obesity pandemic. Here are three ideas that stalled during his first term, and some prospects for reviving them in the second.

To read the full article…..Click here