Let's face it, we live in a high-stress world. While many articles and videos often suggest that we try to modulate the effects of stress, that's easier said than done. We face such constant stress as financial problems; family interactions; marriage-related stress; and even health-related stress, with the latter being associated with a lack of fitness that results in cardiovascular disease and cancer, the two leading causes of death. As such, stress is hard to escape. This seemingly unabated universal stress has resulted in a diagnosis that doesn't exist in any medical text. This disease or to put it more precisely, set of symptoms, is called Adrenal fatigue. I wrote about and explained why adrenal fatigue is a made-up disease often used to sell books and supplements about how to treat it. This article appeared in the December 2016 issue of Applied Metabolics. The primary problem with the adrenal fatigue theory (it's a theory because there is no evidence that it exists) is that the symptoms attributed to adrenal fatigue are general and could be caused by a lot of other things. The symptoms most often associated with adrenal fatigue include the following:
- Body aches
- Unexplained weight loss
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of body hair
- Skin discoloration (hyperpigmentation)
Again, there are many other medical problems that can cause these symptoms. While adrenal fatigue is a fad diagnosis developed mainly to enrich the bank accounts of unscrupulous doctors and those who sell books and other products that are reputed to treat this non-existent syndrome, there is a real term that's related to adrenal stress. That term is Adrenal insufficiency. More specifically, adrenal insufficiency has a medical name, Addison's disease. Addison's disease is notable because the adrenal glands fail and do not release the hormones needed to survive, such as cortisol and other hormones produced in the adrenal gland. One of the more notable people who had this disease was president John F.Kennedy. Kennedy kept the disease secret because he didn't want to public to know that he suffered from a serious disease that could affect his presidency. But the signs of the disease in Kennedy were hard to hide. For example, he was known for his year-round tan. But that "tan" didn't emanate from sun exposure but instead was related to his adrenal gland failure. Kennedy ingested drugs to replace the hormones that his adrenal glands weren't producing, such as cortisol. He also used two types of anabolic steroid drugs, testosterone propionate, a fast-acting form of testosterone, and an oral anabolic steroid called Halotestin. The anabolic steroids were prescribed to block the catabolic effects of the large doses of corticosteroids that JFK had to use. Halotestin is a potent anabolic steroid . . .