Do you ever have those days when you are feeling tired don’t want to get out of bed? go to work, go to school, take care of the kids, make lunches, clean the house, go to the grocery store because you are exhausted and your brain is not running on all cylinders?
You just slept for seven hours but it feels like you never went to bed. What do you do next? Are you one of the millions of people who starts a pot of coffee or goes to Starbucks? Do you reach for a soda with caffeine? What about an energy drink?
If you experience all the symptoms mentioned above, we suggest having an adrenal fatigue test and knowing if you are suffering from adrenal fatigue.
Understanding The Importance of The Adrenal/Cortisol Rhythm
Every day our office receives phone calls from patients all over the world suffering from adrenal burnout or adrenal fatigue and other adrenal diseases. Some have made this “self-diagnosis” for their adrenal health and others have been told they have adrenal fatigue by a holistic health care physician.
Perhaps, you are reading this article because you yourself have adrenal fatigue. You have taken some adrenal supplements, and you have seen a specialist who claims to be able to treat adrenal fatigue or other adrenal gland disorders effectively. But you still have high cortisol levels and feel like your brain is in a perpetual fog, your body is exhausted and inflamed, you’re grouchy and irritable with your loved ones, you find yourself anxious all the time, and you find yourself staring at the clock at 3 am- only hoping to get some sleep before your day really begins.
Treating your adrenal glands for adrenal fatigue or adrenal insufficiency requires more than just popping some adrenal gland supplements. You must understand where the adrenal stress is coming from, but also where the cortisol rhythm has become dysregulated.
The key to supporting your adrenal glands lies in the understanding of adrenal and Cortisol rhythm.
The adrenal glands are two small glands located on top of the kidneys, and together with the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, they form the HPA axis, which forms a large part of the endocrine system and is responsible for regulating digestion, mood, immune system function, metabolism, and energy levels.
Your adrenal glands are also responsible for the body’s stress response by producing adrenal hormones such as cortisol (primary stress hormone) and DHEA. This complex system operates on feedback loops as stressors come and go. If the immediate threat, whether physical stress, mental stress, or emotional stress, never goes away, the delicate balance of your adrenal function and the adrenal hormone levels (cortisol levels) it produces is disrupted.
If left uncorrected, health issues arise, including increased cortisol levels and adrenaline release, elevated blood glucose levels, inflammation, breakdown of muscle, weakened bones, poor immune system function, inhibition of reproductive function, and more.
How To Test Your Adrenal Glands for Adrenal Fatigue
Try doing a Google or Bing search on the internet on ways to test the adrenals and you will come up with everything from Ragland’s postural orthostatic tension test to Pupillary Response test to Salivary Adrenal Testing. What do these tests tell us? and which one should I get if I have chronic fatigue syndrome, brain fog, dizziness, or sleeping problems?
I will briefly explain each one, however, neither of these adrenal fatigue tests (Ragland’s or Pupillary Response tests) show me how to customize a treatment protocol unique to you. While these preliminary adrenal fatigue tests may be a good screening test, they can and do miss many cases of adrenal fatigue. Also, they offer no information about how and what kind of support you would benefit from the most.
Pupillary Response Test for Adrenal Fatigue
- Stand in front of a mirror in a darkened room (best done at night) for at least 15 seconds.
- Look straight into the mirror without blinking.
- Using your penlight or small flashlight, hold the light at eye level and by the side of your head pointing at your ear (see chart). About 8 inches away to avoid damaging the eye.
- Slowly move the light around your head toward your nose, staying 8 inches away at all times.
- Stop once the light is at a 45 degree angle to your retina. The light should NOT be pointing directly into your eye but should come in at an angle. hint: you shouldn’t feel like a deer in headlights.
- Hold the light steady and count how long your pupil can hold the contraction, up to 20 seconds. Once it starts to ‘pulse’ or loses the contraction, the test is over.
- Repeat on the other eye.Possible Adrenal FatigueResults:0-4 seconds | Adrenal Exhaustion |
5-10 seconds | Adrenal Fatigue |
11-19 seconds | Adrenal Dysfunction |
Ragland’s Blood Pressure Test For Adrenal Glands
Raglan’s Blood Pressure Test is an excellent indicator of adrenal gland function. Ragland’s sign is an abnormal drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number) when a person arises from lying to a standing position. There should be a rise of 10 mm. in the systolic (top) number. A drop or failure to rise indicates adrenal fatigue.
Example: Someone takes your blood pressure while you’re lying on your back. The systolic number is 120 and the diastolic number is 60 (120 over 60). Then your blood pressure is taken again immediately after standing up.
The systolic number (120) should go up 10 points (from 120 to 130). If it doesn’t increase 10 points, this indicates adrenal fatigue. Note: It’s not unusual for the systolic number to drop 10 or more points, a sure sign of adrenal fatigue.