To diagnose adrenal fatigue is almost impossible. In order to be sure in their diagnosis, doctors and neuropaths need to make many tests and repeat them for several times for every little thing. Knowledge and experience are very important for the doctors in order to be sure in their diagnosis. It may need a few visits to the doctor’s just to make sure you have the adrenal fatigue.
There are several ways in which the testing can be done. There is the hormone test, cortisol and thyroid tests among these. Then there are the more used tests by doctors and naturopaths like ratios of hormones/neurotransmitters.
In the end, there is the physical testing for the early stages of the fatigue diagnosis.
In order to be sure in the diagnosis, you need lab tests and also patient feedback. Bellow, you can see the main tests made to diagnose adrenal fatigue:
- Cortisol test- This is the main test, but it comes in various forms. In order to see the cortisol levels, the doctor might need to examine the saliva, urine or blood . So far, the saliva test is the best accurate as it measures the cortisol in the cells where hormone are most vivid. To get the best results, you need to hydrate well before testing. Another thing you should know is that 1 test only is not enough, instead doctors need to test at least 4 samples during 24 hours, because the cortisol can vary from high at noon, to low at night. It even drops by whole 80% and this is normal. The tester has to measure the average value here but also the morning one. When it comes to the results, the doctor has to be a pro for adrenal fatigue since the labs usually tell only of low cortisol levels. At last, the doctor must order at least one test minimum for the cortisol levels. Once you get the diagnosis, you can further monitor better.
- ACTH challenge test- This test is also very important. The dose of ACTH or adrenal corticotrophic hormone is injected and the cortisol is measured once more. This impacts the output of hormones just the same as stress event. In this way you will be able to see your responses in the adrenals to the stress. If the cortisol spikes high or double, the adrenal is in great shape. On the other hand, if it doesn’t spike too much, there is a problem.
- Thyroid test- One part of the endocrine system or HPA will not be separated from the thyroid or other parts. A problem in one area can be seen in another because everything in the body is connected. For this fatigue, a weakened hypothalamus and pituitary gland creates low thyroid work. I.e., if the blood shows hypothyroidism the problem might be this fatigue.Blood tests can show this issue. The most crucial one is the cortisol among others.
- TSH- As a response to the work in the hypothalamus, the thyroid stimulation hormone is made in the pituitary glands. The TSH makes T3 and T4 the most crucial thyroid hormones.The TSH levels have to be in proportion to the thyroid, but if there is too much T3 and T4, the gland makes less TSH. Moreover, the TSH will be high if you have hypothyroidism since you make more hormones. This is the same for cortisol as well. For fatigue patients the thyroid works slowly so the TSH will be 2.0. or more. The lab limits are between 0.50 and 4.50.
- Free T3- This test is made by doctors on hyperthyroid issues. When the TSH is arousing the thyroid, doctors make T3. You can see the full picture of the bad work of the thyroid if you mix this test with other thyroid tests. The best values are between 300-450 pg/ml ranges and labs allow lowest of 230 pg/ml.
- Free T4– just like the T3, this is made when TSH arouses the thyroid. We have more T4 than T3, but the T4 has less effects on us. If we make not enough T4, the TSH rises.
- Total thyroxine TT4– this test goes with the previous tests, because the total thyroxine includes the T4 amounts bonded with proteins and this tells you how much T4 your body has to use up and to save.
- Integrative doctors testing– different hormones need to be tested differently and this test will be ordered by naturopaths, not by doctors.
- Cortisol DHEA ratio– this test reveals to what stage are you exactly in this health issue. At this point, the first stress stages, cortisol and DHEA are high and it’s due to the stress hormone producing process steals from the sex hormone producing sources. Moreover, the cortisol is also dropped and this ratio along other tests determines the stage of the fatigue.
- 17 HP cortisol– the 17 HP or hydroxyprogesterone is coming before the cortisol or in raw material that the body uses up for making the cortisol. In this fatigue issue, there are higher levels than 17 HP versus the cortisol.
- Neurotransmitter test– the vital parts of the endocrine system are the neurotransmitters which transfer messages between cells and like the cortisol they deplete after. Some recent studies compared the neurotransmitter level to the healthy levels in other patiens and it was shown that the test is best done in the morning through urine. Not many labs do it.
- Alternative testing- these tests were not yet available during the first cases of adrenal fatigue. In order to diagnose it, the doctors made numerous various tests in clinics or at home. However, it should be mentioned that their results are less correct that blood and urine tests and the results can mean other issues besides the fatigue. Still, they are not to be taken less for granted.
- Iris contraction– Dr. Arroyo was the first to use this test in 1924 and this shows the iris when exposed to dark and light. People with weak work of the adrenals could not have the iris contracted for long. In order to perform this test, the patient must be in a dark rom in fron of a mirror. With a light flash in the eye, from one side. If the patient is in hypoadrenal state, the pupil won’t be contracted longer than 2 minutes and will dilate even with the light. On the other hand, if you have healthy adrenals the contraction will last more.
- Postural blood pressure that is low– If you are healthy, when you stand up, your blood pressure will normally rise. However, if you have fatigue, there will be no change in the pressure. This is a simple home test: use the pressure monitor to see the pressure while resting and then stand up right away.
Do you have adrenal fatigue issues?
If you are feeling tired the whole time and you cannot cope with stress, you probably have adrenal fatigue. The Adrenal Fatigue Solution is written by Fawne Hansen and the Dr. Eric Wood. In the book you will read about: diagnosing, reducing stress, diet advice, pros and cons of some foods, and a plan for improving this situation.