Your adrenal glands produce hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which are strongly associated with stress. When you are constantly under stress, your body is forced to continually produce these hormones and, at times, just can’t always keep up.
Over time, you can start to feel increasingly tired, anxious and unable to get a good night’s sleep. You may start to crave sugar and other stimulants to help keep you going in the short term. Yet, in the long term, you are overwhelmed., exhausted, irritable and just not well. This is known as adrenal fatigue, whose symptoms may include fatigue, body aches, digestive problems, sleep disorders, food cravings and a lack of interest in sex.
The immune system is designed to fight anything that invades the body, such as an infection, or even stress. Autoimmune disease is defined as an illness that happens when the body is attacked by its own immune system. This weakens your systems and make it harder to fight back. Your joints may hurt. Your skin may feel itchy. Or you may feel fatigued and weak. Millions of Americans experience an autoimmune disease.
There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, lupus, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis and celiac disease. They affect millions of Americans.
Heart disease, while still the number 1 cause of death in the country, can often be prevented with a combination of medical and lifestyle changes. Eating whole, non-inflammatory foods, managing stress, turning off the computer once in a while, being active every day, limiting alcohol, maintaining positive personal relationships … these are steps we can all take to keep our hearts happy and healthy. And these measures will also prevent other diseases and conditions, such as diabetes and stroke.
Regular testing for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and irregular heartbeat becomes increasingly important as we age. Because traditional cholesterol testing may not be adequate to determine your true risk of heart disease, advanced cardiometabolic testing is often recommended.
Almost everyone feels exhausted from time to time, but if you have been extremely fatigued for more than six months, you may have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Unlike ordinary sleepiness, CFS does not go away after you get some rest. CFS can limit your ability to perform daily tasks and negatively impact your job performance, personal relationships and overall quality of life. Its causes are unknown, but experts believe a combination of factors are often involved, from viral infections to stress.
In addition to fatigue, symptoms may include muscle pain, memory loss or difficulty concentrating, headaches, joint pain, sore throat and tender lymph nodes. CFS is difficult to diagnose and affects people differently. Treatment to relieve and manage symptoms may include exercise and counseling.
Most people experience symptoms of anxiety and depression at some point in their lives. You may feel anxious before making a presentation at work or when interviewing for a job. You may feel sad and fatigued, even hopeless, after a loss or during the winter months. When these feelings persist or get worse over time, it is important to seek medical attention. You may be one of the 42 million Americans with an anxiety disorder or 16 percent experiencing major depression. These two conditions often occur together, and both are treatable.
Treatments vary widely, however, from lifestyle changes to medication. Functional medicine professionals seek to uncover the underlying causes of depression and anxiety rather than simply treating its symptoms. This approach focuses on understanding the whole person and finding ways to balance our minds and bodies, from improving sleep habits and reducing stress, to making dietary changes and increasing movement.
We are exposed to so many dangerous toxins from both internal and external sources that are bodies are not always able to cope. High levels of toxins can damage our DNA and other cells and prevent essential nutrients from being absorbed.
Exposure to high levels of toxins may lead to mood and sexual disorders, a number of skin and digestive problems, difficulty sleeping and other sleep disorders, and aches and pain.
Our bodies remove toxins naturally. Yet we are surrounded by so many environmental toxins that it may not be able to keep up.
More than 20 million people in the United States are living with diabetes, and that number is expected to grow significantly. It is projected that by the year 2020, half of Americans will have diabetes or pre-diabetes. The most common form of the disease is type 2, which mostly affects adults.
Symptoms include blurred vision, excessive thirst, fatigue, frequent urination, hunger and weight loss. Diabetes can lead to light sensitivity or blindness. It can also cause sores and infections on the feet and skin. When untreated, it can even lead to the loss of a limb. It can also lead to nerve damage, digestive problems and erectile dysfunction.
Diabetes can be diagnosed by a urine or blood test to check the sugar level in the blood. While there is no cure for type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes can be managed and controlled with lifestyle changes.
Diet and nutrition are at the root of many health problems and conditions. If you are experiencing digestive problems, a good first step to take is to balance the carbohydrates, proteins and antioxidants in your diet. A healthy, balanced diet can help manage or prevent gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), food allergies and sensitivities, fatigue, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), chronic constipation, cardiac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, migraines, leaky gut syndrome and more.
Maintain a high level of digestive health by eating high-fiber foods and probiotics, drinking more water, managing stress and taking steps to quit smoking or other bad health habits.
When you’re seeking to uncover the cause of low energy and fatigue, a good place to start is at the cellular level. A reduction or loss of function in mitochondria, known as the powerhouses of our cells, can cause excessive fatigue, which is a symptom of almost every chronic disease.
Mitochondria are responsible for 90 percent of the energy needed to sustain life and support the functioning of our organs. They are present in every cell in our bodies. When they start to fail, so, too, do our organs.
As we age, we experience a decrease in mitochondrial function. We can boost our mitochondrial function, and thus our energy, through diet and exercise and, when appropriate, supplementation.
When your hormones are out of balance, you can feel tired and frustrated. And, for some women, that’s just the beginning, Weight gain, sleep disturbances, libido loss, memory loss, vaginal dryness and mood swings are all the result of shifting levels of estrogen and progesterone. A reduction of sugar, sodium, caffeine, MSG and artificial sweeteners can help to ease these symptoms. An increase in vitamins and minerals such as B6, zinc, magnesium, omega-3s and calcium can help as well.
Many women report that progesterone supplements can ease most if not all of their negative symptoms. Among women seeking hormone replacement therapy, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is the most popular, due to its safety and efficacy.
Infertility is defined as the failure to conceive after a year of trying, or having multiple miscarriages or stillbirths. It is common, perhaps increasingly so in recent years, with about 10 percent of women between the ages of 15 to 44 unable to get pregnant after a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Infertility in women is linked to hormonal imbalances and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), among other conditions. Yet infertility is not just a woman’s problem. About one-third of cases can be traced back to the man. Both sexes benefit from lifestyle changes to improve their fertility, such as limiting alcohol, reducing exposure to toxins, eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular exercise and managing stress.
Being overweight or obese is one of the greatest threats to our health and increases our risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, cancer, depression, arthritis and joint pain, and sleep disorders, among other medical conditions. Overweight is described as having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25. Obesity is described as having a BMI of 35 or more.
Maintaining a healthy weight is a challenge for many people today. In addition to a poor diet and lack of exercise, a number of factors contribute to obesity, including sleep problems, medication, and thyroid disorders. A combination of lifestyle and behavioral changes are usually the first line of defense when treating individuals who are overweight or obese.
The thyroid gland, located at the base of the neck, regulates many processes in your body and plays an important role in the way your metabolism functions. If your thyroid produces too little hormone, your metabolism becomes sluggish. This is hypothyroidism. Too much thyroid hormone production results in hyperthyroidism. Symptoms of hypothyroidism range from feeling tired and run-down, to weight gain and hair loss. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism are just the opposite—feeling hyper, anxious and restless.
Most thyroid problems can be managed if they are diagnosed correctly. Conventional testing may begin and end with a thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test. Functional medicine practitioners often take it further, testing for gluten intolerances, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, food allergies and environmental exposures.