Ask The Pharmacist: 3 easy tests to determine just how tired you are
Do you feel tired and drained of energy all the time? Maybe you’ve been trying to correct your thyroid hormone without luck. If you’re adrenals are weak, you’ll have thyroid disease, as in hypothyroidism.
Think about the past year or two. Have you been under pressure or a lot of stress. If work, school or relationships are causing you to suffer with constant deadlines, pressure or anguish (even mental anguish) then it’s possible that your exhaustion is from adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue is the type of fatigue that occurs when your “fight or flight glands” produce too much cortisol and aldosterone (think of the alarming stage), and then after a while, too little cortisol because they’re completely worn out. The antidote to adrenal fatigue is easier said than done, although a mental or physical vacation from the stress might help.
One overlooked reason for low libido is the pregnenolone steal. How do you know for sure if this is what you’re dealing with? There are three home tests you can do to see if you have adrenal fatigue. I know of a fourth as well, in my extended version of this column. If you want to read that, please sign up for my newsletter at suzycohen.com and I’ll email it to you next week.
The pupil test
Go into a dark room and shine a little flashlight towards your eyes. Your pupils respond to light and dark, and upon the light shining into your eyes, they should constrict (get smaller) immediately.
The constriction happens within seconds if you’re healthy, but if your pupils stay dilated for 10 to 20 seconds before constricting, or they never constrict, then you probably have adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue will absolutely compromise the feedback loop that controls your body’s temperature. You might feel cold, then feel suddenly hot. Your temperature may vary by two degrees from day to day.
If you take your temperature three times in one day, and three more times the next day, then take the average for each day, it should not differ by more than a couple of degrees from day to day.
If it does, your adrenals are taxed, and temperature stability is more difficult to achieve. This might explain the hot/cold problem you have.
Do you crave salty foods like potato chips? It’s possible that this is due to adrenal fatigue and the resulting fluctuations in aldosterone hormone.
Your body can’t utilize fluid effectively, or properly regulate sodium and potassium levels which causes mild dehydration, even though you could be drinking plenty of water.
This is very common for people who have chronic fatigue, or who have been seriously ill for a long time.
Blood pressure response
You’ll be taking your blood pressure twice for this test. Make sure you’ve drank enough water the day you test. Lie down in bed and rest for five minutes then take your blood pressure. Then get up and take your blood pressure immediately (while standing up). The top number (systolic) should go up by about 8 to 10 points.
If it doesn’t, it’s a clue that your adrenals are overworked.
Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit SuzyCohen.com.