Your health is on a continuum. On one end you have optimal health, and on the other, you have chronic illness. Your adrenal health works in the same way. You can be one step away from healthy and functioning, or you can have full-blown Addison’s disease, also known as chronic adrenal insufficiency. This creates a very large gap, and I find that many people fall somewhere within this spectrum.
To receive an Addison's diagnosis, you must have lost 90% of your adrenal glands' function, but you can still have adrenal issues without this diagnosis. Anything between optimal health and Addison’s disease is referred to as adrenal fatigue, a mild form of adrenal insufficiency that occurs when your adrenal glands are overstressed.
The primary role of your adrenal glands is to produce and regulate the stress hormone cortisol. Your adrenal glands also produce sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone, and they produce your neurotransmitters, adrenaline (epinephrine), norepinephrine, and dopamine. These hormones and neurotransmitters regulate your metabolism and communicate with other organs, like your brain, kidneys, and reproductive system. However, chronic stress can suppress your adrenal glands, causing them to release insufficient amounts of these necessary hormones.
Causes of stress: