Hormones and Chronic Stress

Underlying Causes of Adrenal/Hormone Problems

Unhealthy lifestyle habits (poor diet, inadequate exercise, insufficient sleep, lack of relaxation, and internalizing emotional stress) are sources of chronic stress that may be underlying causes of adrenal fatigue and hormone imbalance. Other common sources of chronic stress include: food sensitivities, heavy metals, environmental toxins, radiation exposure, and regular use of prescription drugs. Chronic stress slowly erodes health and compromises longevity.

Under chronic stress, the adrenal glands increase their output of cortisol—often referred to as the “stress hormone.” The principal hormones produced by the adrenal glands—cortisol, DHEA, aldosterone, testosterone, estrogens, and progesterone—share a common precursor, the master hormone pregnenolone. When under stress, the adrenal glands are hyperstimulated and pregnenolone is diverted (stolen) from other pathways to produce cortisol.

Pregnenolone Steal

This increase in the production of cortisol (and the resulting diversion ofpregnenolone) causes fatigue and the general aches and pains associated with chronic stress. However, with time, pregnenolone steal has a much broader damaging effect on health. It exacerbates any developing or existing health problems because pregnenolone is not being adequately converted to other essential hormones. Refer to the following chart to see the dynamic of pregnenolone steal:

What stresses have become chronic, causing the body to divert pregnenolone to provide for the production of cortisol? The sooner you identify and deal with the offenders, the sooner you restore your patients’ health. Consider the following sources as a logical starting point:

  • Lifestyle: Diet, Sleep, Exercise, Mental
  • Environmental: Pathogen infections, chemicals, heavy metals, food sensitivities, mold, radiation.

Adrenal Fatigue is Not a Recognized Disease

A doctor's acute skills of observation, physical examination and deductive reasoning, which used to be considered his most essential diagnostic tool, have now been replaced by reliance on narrowly interpreted lab-tests and lists of numerical diagnoses allowable by insurance plans. The health insurance industry has forced the entire practice of medicine to restrict itself to pre-approved numbered codes for both the diagnosis and the treatment of all health conditions. Drugs or even surgery are usually the only therapies offered by modern medicine, even when they are inappropriate. So if an illness does not show up clearly on a lab test or fit a diagnostic code, and if there is no known surgical or drug treatment for the symptoms, then it is as though the problem is not real.

Medical doctors of today are constricted by medical licensing boards, the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries, and their patients' expectation of quick recovery. As a result of these influences and a certain bias in their training, they think and practice primarily pharmaceutical medicine, seeking to prescribe the appropriate drug for the condition. Because of the ever-present threat of a malpractice suit and the conservative influence of peer review boards, medical doctors have become much less willing and able to try something different to help their patients...

...In addition to the fact that medical training is now dependent on huge pharmaceutical corporation for funding, modern medicine is currently in the stranglehold of insurance companies.  Under our present medical system, most physicians' incomes come primarily from insurance companies. Paperwork created by the insurance industry and licensing boards that required of therapists, physicians, clinics and hospitals demands that each patient be given what is called an "ICD" (International Classification of Disease) code for their medical condition. This ICD code puts a name on your disease or condition. No one can fit in the cracks. You must have an ICD code to classify your illness. Despite the fact that it is absurd to assume that all patients will fit into a description found in some pre-designed code-book, everyone is required to have an ICD. If there is no ICD the financial medicine wheel quickly comes to a halt for that patient and for the doctor treating them. Records are incomplete without codes and bills cannot be submitted to insurance companies without them. Consequently, physicians must identify the patient's with an ICD code or the insurance companies will not pay for them. 

Because adrenal fatigue is not a recognized disease, it is not in the ICD code book and is often misdiagnosed.