Although your adrenal glands are small, they play a vital role in producing and regulating hormones that control everything from blood pressure to metabolism, immune system capability and reproductive function.

Sitting just on top of your kidneys, the adrenal glands generally do their multiple jobs very effectively—however, they are susceptible to certain types of cancers, and may occasionally fail to produce sufficient steroid hormones (i.e. in the case of Addison’s Disease).

There is also some evidence that chronic stress can lead the adrenal gland to under-produce certain hormones.

The theory is that the glands become so over-taxed that their functionality becomes diminished—this is called “adrenal fatigue.”

Here are eight warning signs that many people ignore, but which indicate you may have adrenal fatigue (or indeed another adrenal gland issue).

1. Fatigue

If you wake up feeling unrested or find that you fall asleep at the drop of a hat, you’re suffering from fatigue.

Of course, fatigue is a nonspecific symptom that can be linked to chronic pain disorders (e.g. lupus and fibromyalgia) as well as mental health issues (such as depression). However, adrenal fatigue is one cause worth considering if your doctor rules out more readily identifiable conditions.

2. Salt and Sugar Cravings

In the absence of other obvious explanations (e.g. premenstrual tension), cravings for either salt or sugar can indicate adrenal fatigue, because your adrenal glands help to regulate your metabolic rate and mineral levels.

If these levels are out of whack, you can start feeling desperate for sugary candy or salty pretzels, so your body can replenish dwindling supplies.

3. Low Blood Pressure And Feeling Faint

Your adrenal glands regulate your blood pressure, so if your body is lacking in mineralocorticoids then you can suddenly find yourself feeling faint.

This might manifest in dizzy spell, a lightheaded feeling when you stand up, or even fainting. Alternatively, you might not feel these symptoms but notice that your blood pressure tests as unusually low.

4. Accidental Weight Loss

Many people are engaged in a daily struggle to lose weight, but if more than 5% of your body weight mysteriously disappears over the course of about half of a year then you need to discuss this with a doctor.

Adrenal fatigue (and other adrenal gland issues, such as Addison’s disease) may be the culprit, and only a full blood workup can tell you more.

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