If there is a scale from “Zero to Ten” and 0 represents no stress in your life, 10 represents a significant amount of stress, where do you fall on that scale? How long of a time have you been that number? How much caffeine do you consume on a regular basis? Are your sleeping patterns balanced, giving you 8 solid hours a night of restful sleep allowing you to wake rested and rejuvenated? Have you been through a job change, a life change, have you had a loss of loved ones or are you newly married or divorced? Have you moved recently or re-located? Do you consider yourself generally anxious? Are you in a relationship or a job where you feel unappreciated or unfulfilled? Do you suffer from chronic pain which can be very stressful on the body?
Too much stress or a perception of too much stress in your life can change the neurologic mechanisms interfering with your ability to respond to stress properly. All of the sudden it is easy to gain weight, hard to lose weight, difficult to tolerate small amounts of stress, flying off the handle at the slightest thing, craving carbohydrates and feeling generally on edge, sometimes even depressed. Are you retaining more body fat weight around the mid-section? Are you tired more often than energized? Do you rely on caffeine to get you through the 3:00pm energy lul? Are you shaky, irritable, nervous, fatigued, grumpy, or prone to headaches if you do not eat for 5 hours?
If some of these descriptions fit your current life, there is a possibility that your adrenal glands response is limited or your brain has a compromised ability to communicate effectively with your stress response system. In this case your bloodwork will show that your metabolism and thyroid gland are completely normal and your Medical Doctor will tell you there is nothing wrong… but there is. It is a functional metabolic shift that makes healthy metabolism and weight loss very difficult. The difficulty comes because the thyroid gland works hand in hand with your adrenals. The “functional” component of your metabolism just doesn’t show up in your blood work.
In working with a Functional Medicine Practitioner and Clinical Nutritionist you will hear the word “functional” quite a bit. What we are referring to is that not all problems show up in your blood work and there may be a more subtle change in your system that is not bad enough to raise the red flags for your medical doctor. The name Adrenal Fatigue (More accurately, Hypothalamic, Pituitary Adrenal Insufficiency) is a perfect example.
I actually have patients who come to my office for help who exercise 2 hours a day, eat 1,000 calories a day and cannot lose weight. Their P.C.P tells them that they are healthy. It is a very common condition.
With the compromised adrenal pathway there are 5-6 different possible ways to properly address the problem. I specialize in identifying the proper corrective pathway to individual adrenal repair. If any of this description sounds familiar, give me a call. I will be happy to work directly with you to correct the imbalance in your system and get you on the way to a healthier, more energized way of life.
It is important to note that when your medical history and health related goals are explored, your consultations are held directly with Dr. Shaw, not an untrained individual, a staff member, a questionnaire or a computer program. You will not be signing up for a “program” and paying money up front for services not yet rendered. Your health care journey in our office is unique to your specific needs.— Dr. Conan Shaw Functional Medicine, Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Pittsburgh PA