Dr. Ridley utilizes some specialized lab tests to customize your health plan. Personalized healthcare is the way to achieve optimal health and prevent chronic disease; these kinds of tests help to better understand each patient’s unique biochemistry.
Adrenal Gland Functional Testing
Poor adrenal function is associated with a wide range of energy, mood, weight and cognitive disorders: insomnia, depression, weight gain and difficult weight loss, slow healing, poor digestion, chronic pain, muscle and joint problems, osteopenia and osteoporosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, allergies, autoimmune issues, mood disorder, anxiousness, fatigue and sleep difficulties.
Abnormal adrenal function can alter the ability of cells to produce energy for activities of daily living. People who have a hard time rising in the morning, or who suffer with a low energy level during the day, often have abnormal adrenal rhythms and poor blood sugar regulation. Quite often, hypothyroid symptoms such as fatigue and low body temperature are due to an adrenal gland that is functioning too low or too high.
Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms
Symptoms associated with adrenal dysfunction: changes in mood, fatigue, gut disorders, low sex drive or irregularity in menstrual cycle, weight gain, difficult weight loss, abdominal fat, insomnia - trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, achy joints, stiff neck, tight shoulders, and low back pain, compromised immune function leading to frequent illness, declining bone health, wrinkles and premature aging, decreased tolerance to stress, salt cravings, sugar cravings, light headedness.
The adrenal glands are located on top of the kidneys and are responsible for the synthesis of several hormones. One key adrenal hormone is cortisol, which has the ability to regulate glucose levels, blood pressure, immune response, inflammation, and circadian rhythm (the sleep-wake cycle). Cortisol has also been called the “stress hormone” for its involvement in the reaction to stress and anxiety. Prolonged exposure to stress can cause the adrenal glands to become fatigued, which causes a corresponding decrease in cortisol levels, thus hindering the body’s response to stress.
Because cortisol is involved in the sleep-wake cycle, it reaches maximum levels in the morning, which help us get out of bed and begin the day, and has minimum levels at midnight, helping us get to sleep. We test cortisol levels by collecting four salivary samples throughout one day so that we can assess your adrenal status all day long. If we did a blood test we might miss your dysfunction first thing in the morning or last thing at night. With saliva we can gather data for all of the important adrenal function times.
Muscle and Joint Function
Abnormal adrenal rhythms are known to compromise tissue healing. Reduced tissue repair and increased tissue breakdown can lead to muscle and joint wasting with chronic pain.
The adrenal rhythm determines how well we build bone. If the night and morning cortisol levels are elevated, our bones do not rebuild well, and we are more prone to osteoporosis. Stress is the enemy of the bones. In postmenopausal women, the effect of stress worsens due to female hormone imbalances.
Various immune cells (white blood cells) cycle in and out of the spleen and bone marrow. The immune system trafficking follows the cortisol cycle. If the cycle is disrupted, especially at night, then the immune system is adversely affected. Short- and long-term stress is known to suppress the immune response in the lungs, throat, urinary tract and intestines. With reduction in the surface antibody (called secretory IgA), the resistance to infection is reduced and allergic reactions are believed to increase.
The ability to enter REM sleep cycles and experience regenerative sleep is interrupted by high cortisol values at night and in the morning. Chronic lack of REM sleep can reduce a person’s mental vitality, vigor and induce depression.
Human skin regenerates mostly during the night. With higher night cortisol values, less skin regeneration takes place. Therefore a normal cortisol rhythm is essential for optimal skin health.
The level of cortisol at the cell level controls thyroid hormone production. Often, hypothyroid symptoms such as fatigue and low body temperature are due to an adrenal maladaptation.
Chronic low blood sugar can impair normal adrenal function by triggering the chronic release of cortisol. Recurring exposure to high cortisol will impair insulin activity, and can lead to insulin resistance and beta-cell exhaustion (diabetes). Testing the adrenals is useful in the following clinical situations: rapid weight gain and obesity, high cholesterol and triglycerides, sugar blues, and early diabetes.
More than fifty years ago, Dr. W. Jefferies (author of Safe Uses of Cortisol) discovered that patients with environmentally triggered allergies and autoimmune diseases dramatically beneﬁted when given cortisol for other purposes. More recently, German researchers reported that disruption of the adrenal axis and cytokine relationships lead to predisposition and aggravation of autoimmune diseases.
Weight Gain/ Difficult Weight Loss
Stress will make the body release high amounts of cortisol, which can inhibit healing and may cause poor digestion, preventing the body from absorbing nutrients from food. Over time, high cortisol levels lead to fat gain around the belly. Over time, the adrenals become more tired and stop producing enough cortisol. Too low or too high, either is a problem, because the body needs balance. Low cortisol can disrupt the normal action of the thyroid hormone. If you have adrenal fatigue, losing weight will be virtually impossible unless the adrenals are repaired.
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Ridley at LiveWell Chiropractic and Wellness Center and find out if you are a candidate for treatment with adrenal testing.
Serving Hurst, Colleyville, North Richland Hills, Euless, Bedford, Ft. Worth, Grapevine, Southlake, Keller, Dallas, Mansfield, Arlington & Watauga.
Office: (817) 485-WELL (9355)
Fax: (817) 427-9355