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Reference Guide
Adrenal & Stress

Adrenal & Stress

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Adrenal & Stress
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Stress can often interfere with physical and mental functioning, and underscores many illness conditions. According to the American Institute of Stress and the APA, about 77 % of people experience stress that affects their physical health while 73% percent experience stress that impacts their mental health; with 34% of adults feeling overwhelmed by stress.

Under stress, the human body reacts to keep balance through various physiological mechanisms. The adrenal glands, located on top of the kidneys, play a crucial role in producing hormones that help the body cope with stress. These stress hormones are cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine and they can lead to increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and increased blood sugar. With long-term stress, these sustained increases can develop into health problems such as heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes, and can compromise the functioning of the immune system.

Adrenal and stress diagnosis

Physicians often use adrenal and stress tests to evaluate the function of adrenal glands and assess an individual's stress response. These tests provide valuable insights into a patient's hormonal balance and can aid in diagnosing adrenal disorders and managing stress-related health conditions.

Adrenal and stress tests measure the levels of hormones such as cortisol, aldosterone, and adrenaline in the blood or urine. These tests can help doctors determine if the adrenal glands are functioning properly, identify the cause of symptoms like fatigue, weight loss, increased infections or high blood pressure, and monitor the progress of adrenal disorders or stress-related conditions

What adrenal and stress test panels measure

Adrenal and stress tests, with a physical examination, a medical history of symptoms, genetic testing, stimulation tests, and imaging tests such as CT scans or MRIs can be helpful in determining adrenal disorders, identifying hormonal imbalances, and uncovering information underlying stress-related symptoms. 

Various comprehensive adrenal and stress test panels are available through Rupa Health analyzing blood, urine, saliva, or a combination.

The following are some examples of tests from this category:

Access Medical Labs’ Cortisol:  The level of cortisol in the body is measured from a sample of blood. Cortisol levels normally fluctuate during different times of the day and in certain situations such as exercise, infection, obesity, and stress. Results out of the normal range can indicate conditions such as Addison’s disease or primary adrenal insufficiency, Cushing’s syndrome, or a tumor affecting cortisol production. 

DUTCH Complete (Dried Urine): Sex and adrenal hormones and metabolites are assessed, including daily and free cortisol pattern, organic acids, melatonin, and 8-OHDdG. Results are beneficial for a baseline hormone assessment and useful for monitoring therapy.

Doctor’s Data Adrenal Function Profile: Saliva is analyzed to provide an assessment of the HPA axis and adrenal function, and includes four cortisol levels plus DHEA.

ZRT Laboratory’s Adrenal Stress Profile: Saliva is assessed to measure DHEA-S and diurnal cortisol to determine the effects of stress on adrenal hormone balance.

Treatment Plans

Treatment can include medication, hormone replacement, lifestyle changes, or surgery depending on the diagnosis and severity of disorder. 

Some treatment plans include:

  • Diet changes to increase intake of anti-inflammatory foods
  • Active relaxation
  • Exercise
  • Adequate sleep
  • Supplements and herbal medications to improve resilience and boost adrenal function to help support stress and fatigue
  • Identifying cause of stress and eliminating or reducing if possible

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