All health's breaking loose: Your body's Spider-Man

Published: Tuesday, May 31 2011 12:00 p.m. MDT

Loa's column appears on DeseretNews.com weekly, each Tuesday.

Loa Blasucci

Enlarge photo»

Duke was a family friend, a gentle, average-sized guy with a large family. He and 
his wife had just purchased a new refrigerator and stocked it with 
groceries when their house caught fire. After all the kids got out
 safely, Duke ran back inside and picked up the new, fully stocked
 refrigerator and carried it outside.

The fire was put out and their home was salvaged. A day later, when it was time to move the fridge 
back inside, it took 
three strong men to move it back in. Stay with me, this is more than a story about a man who really, truly hates to waste food.

What Duke experienced was the heightened physical performance that comes from an adrenal function in full swing. With
adrenaline coursing through his veins, he briefly had the strength of 
three men. That is the job of your adrenal glands. These two walnut-
sized, triangular shaped organs sit on top of your kidneys and,
 as part of your endocrine system, release and regulate hormones, 
including adrenaline, as needed to deal with the stress you 
experience. Kind of makes you feel all warm and 
fuzzy just knowing your body looks after you like that, doesn't it?

We all have times in our lives when our adrenal glands go into 
action, and yet we're not even aware of it. For someone who has had 
an injury or is suffering a major illness such as cancer, diabetes or 
heart disease, stress is suffered on two levels. First there is the 
psychological stress or the very idea that this frightening illness or 
injury has entered your body and life, and second, the biological 
stress or what the illness is causing on a 
cellular level.

But your adrenals don't stop there, they also "have your back" 
during times of emotional crisis such as divorce, caring for a seriously ailing 
loved one, the loss of a job, continual overworking or a 
death in the family. These amazing tiny organs (weighing about as much 
as a grape) kick into high gear whenever needed, no matter what type of stress you experience.

They are the Spider-Man of our bodies. The trouble starts
 when the stress becomes long-term. They're sprinters, not long-distance runners. But they’ll keep trying, even though they aren't built for it, until there is a major strain in the body.

You may 
not even recognize what is happening in your body as "strain." But if you listen to the language of your body, it will tell you when it’s on overload. The signs are feeling tired for no reason, trouble 
sleeping, slight depression or feeling "tapped out," moodiness and using colas, coffee, chocolate or snack foods to get through the day.

If you’re living your life in the fast lane, remember you are the one driving and you are the one that can slow things down. The fast-lane living of modern times has made adrenal fatigue commonplace while most people don’t know it exists. But your body knows what it is, and if you’ve experienced some of the above mentioned symptoms, you may be suffering from it.

It’s everywhere and connected to many conditions, including chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and a host of other illnesses that have doctors in a quandary.

Getting out of the fast lane is easier said than done. We are creatures of habit, and when you have been chronically busy for years, finding time to stop is difficult. It feels unproductive somehow. And yet, to stop sawing and sharpen the saw may be the most productive thing you can do.

The stress you perceive is the stress you feel. To one person, the events that cause you to say, “I’ve had a terrible morning, my life is a mess” may cause another to smile and simply say, “Oops, sorry I’m late.” So here are a few tips on creating a calmer, more peaceful life (and rejuvenating your adrenal glands).

The most important is to not sweat the small stuff. And it's all small stuff.

Try out the new DeseretNews.com design!
try beta learn more
Get The Deseret News Everywhere