In my Adrenal blog series I've explained how the adrenal hormones function. You may like to read these;
The adrenals are small pea size glands located on top of the kidneys and are of great importance to the overall balance of the entire hormonal system. Their function is of far greater importance than just governing the 'fight or flight' response, which they are most commonly known for. When they are fatigued they can cause the endocrine system havoc, adrenal insufficiency has become an epidemic issue of the 21st century.
The glucocorticoids, which include cortisol. These normalise and balance your body’s blood sugar, metabolism, help your body combat stress and maintain your immune system’s response.
The mineralocorticoids, which include aldosterone. These hormones assist in the normalising of blood pressure, manage optimum hydration levels by keeping the balance of salt and water.
Androgens (sex hormones). Interestingly these sex hormones are produced by adrenal glands but to a much lesser degree than the ovaries or testes.
Epinephrine (adrenaline) and norephinehrine (noradrenaline) – These guys work together in response to stress by increasing your heart rate and controlling the blood flow to your muscles and brain when your body is under stress. They help your liver convert glycogen into glucose.
In this broad overview, you can see how complex the adrenal hormones actually are, even more complex is the way that they interact and relate to all the other endocrine glands; thyroid, para-thyroid, hypothalamus, pituitary gland, pineal gland, pancreas and testes or ovaries.
Unfortunately adrenal insufficiency is common and can contribute too many health problems including thyroid, immune system, menstrual and menopause, blood pressure, digestion and fluid retention issues.
On the internet some sites translate adrenal insufficiency or fatigue directly to Addison's Disease, whereas tired out adrenals is a common problem, which can be addressed and does not mean Addison's Disease. However, in rare circumstances Addison disease can develop and can be a life-threatening problem which requires immediate attention.
It is likely that this illness follows extended periods of third stage adrenal fatigue (see my blog post Adrenal Fatigue, Burning the Candle at Both Ends to read more about that).
Addison disease usually develops slowly over several months. But sometimes, the signs and symptoms of Addison's disease can appear abruptly, and even be triggered by a very stressful or traumatic event. In it's acute form the disease is called Addisonian crisis, and a Google search (see references listed below) has pointed out some of the serious signs and symptoms;
Certainly, its best to looking at addressing adrenal fatigue and its stress triggers during its milder forms (stage one, two or three) where possible.
A reminder that Addison disease can be life-threatening and must be treated immediately by a doctor.
More information about Addison's Disease can be found at; http://addisons.org.au/ or http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/addisons-disease/symptoms-causes/dxc-20155757