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When Adrenal Fatigue was first discovered many of today’s tests did not exist and a diagnosis was made on the basis of the patient’s symptoms alone. Or together with a series of very useful physical tests which are described below. Naturally these physical tests are clearly much more subjective than traditional blood, saliva and urine tests. But they can be a useful diagnostic tool. Especially if positive results from these physical tests are accompanied by other positive test results from modern laboratory tests.
Also known as “Ragland’s Sign, Dr. D.C. Ragland described this test back in 1920 in a paper titled: “The Postural Blood Pressure Method of Evaluating Postural Hypotension”. He concluded that:
“Often this simple screen-test may be all that is needed to indicate the hypoadrenia syndrome. The test requires but little extra office time. It is also useful in evaluating the results of treatment” (1)
To do this test, you have to take your blood pressure when you are sitting or lying down. Then, stand up and immediately and take your blood pressure again. Your systolic (first) number should have raised 10 to 20 points, if it dropped (especially by 10 or more points), Adrenal Fatigue is indicated.
Below video shows the test in practise. It is recorded by Jeanne Winner from http://winnerwellnessnutrition.com/
“When exploring the pupil area reflex, I found that in the iris of those cases (adrenal insufficiency), although reacting readily to light, the contraction (of the iris) was flabby, lazy, in a word asthenia. By making the patient look at the light we see that immediately after the initial miosis the pupil starts to dilate slowly as if it does not want to, seems to try to contract again but the dilation gains the upper hand and, after a fight between miosis and mydriasis lasting for about 40 seconds, the pupil remains dilated in spite of the persistence of the exciting agent (the light). This sign is consistent and present in all cases of hypoadrenia in all of its clinical forms. In the normal individual, it does not appear as I have investigated. All patients presenting this sign, which I should like to call asthenocaria, have been benefited by suprarenal medication”
The quote above, describes Dr Arroyo’s discovery in 1924 of another useful test for detecting Adrenal Fatigue. The test goes as follows:
Darken the room and shine a flashlight across one eye (not directly into the eye) and watch what happens in the mirror. Under normal circumstances the pupil will immediately contract and will stay contracted. But if you have poor adrenal function the pupil can’t hold the contraction and will, either waver between contracted and dilated. Or the pupil will initially contract but then dilate within 2 minutes (despite the light shining on it). The dilation will last for 30-45 seconds before it contracts again.
You can retest this monthly as an indicator of recovery (as you recover from Adrenal Fatigue the pupil will hold the contraction longer). The inability of the pupil to remain contracted is more typically present in moderate to severe cases and usually not present in milder cases of Adrenal Fatigue.
This 3rd test was first described by a French doctor by the name of Emile Sergent in 1917 and can still be used today as a simple test for poor adrenal function. To do this test take a fork or the dull end of a ballpoint pen and lightly scratch the surface of the inner forearm in one side to create a mark of about six inches long. In a normal reaction, the mark will be initially white and reddens within 15-20 seconds. If the line is still white after 20-30 seconds it indicates poor adrenal activity. This test is not always positive in people with Adrenal Fatigue (about 40% of cases), but if you do test positive it is a pretty reliable confirmation of the presence of Adrenal Fatigue. (3)
Questionnaires are a quick and useful tool for helping to diagnose Adrenal Fatigue. Indications of Adrenal Fatigue are summed up in such a questionnaire and your answers to the questions will create a picture of how functional or dysfunctional your adrenal glands are. It will also help you to determine possible sources of this problem in your life. We have an online Adrenal Fatigue questionnaire HERE.
There are many other questionnaires that you can found online on various websites free of charge. And although there are many slightly different versions, they all show much overlap.
As you can see there are plenty of ways to assess adrenal function but obviously your symptoms will already give a major clue as to whether you have Adrenal Fatigue or not. Despite the multitude of tests there is no such thing as the perfect diagnostic test indicating the presence and the degree of Adrenal Fatigue. Each test offers its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Using several tests may be necessary for a proper diagnosis of Adrenal Fatigue. And also to rule out other conditions of your thyroid or adrenal glands that bring about similar symptoms.
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