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Los Angeles Longevity & Functional Medicine Doctor

Dr. Allan Kurtz

Board Certified Internal Medicine
Fellowship in Functional Medicine

Heart Attack and Stroke
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Health Tips Blog


The Three Stages of HPA Dysfunction

By: California Center of Longevity & Functional Medicine on May 18, 2016, 7:12 pm


alarmStage 1: Alarm Phase (Hyper-Cortisol).
Individuals in this stage usually report feeling restless, irritated, or “wired”. Immediate stressful situations are causing high cortisol production, but there is inadequate signaling within the HPA axis to shut-off excessive cortisol production. An inadequate diurnal rhythm may also appear in this stage, manifesting in higher levels of cortisol at night. This HPA axis imbalance, if left unchecked, can eventually affect other systems in the body, such as weakening immune response, as well as contribute to loss of sleep, anxiety, weight gain, insulin, resistance and blood sugar fluctuations.

Stage 2: Resistance Phase (Cortisol-Dominant).
This stage may be the result of ongoing acute adrenal dysfunction or the accumulation of years of mild stress without adequate relaxation and recuperation. Lab testing may indicate erratic patterns of cortisol production, inadequate diurnal rhythm, as well as reduced levels of DHEA.

Stage 3: Exhaustion Phase (Hypo-Cortisol).
This later stage of HPA dysfunction is typically associated with a multitude of issues, including fatigue, sever insomnia, depression, hormonal imbalances, or an increase in pain and inflammatory conditions. Test results in stage three will show depleted levels of cortisol and DHEA (Addison's disease is the complete loss of cortisol production). Individuals in this stage may find even the simplest tasks have become difficult to complete.

Through a process of physical examination, health history, lifestyle and nutritional assessments, as well as lab testing, Dr. Kurtz and his team can determine what level of stress of fatigue you are currently experiencing and develop recommendations to help you get on the road to recovery.

Dr. Allan Kurtz specializes in creating optimal health and longevity plans for his patients. He is fellowship trained in Integrative Medicine as well as Functional Medicine. He is also a member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and The Institute for Functional Medicine. He founded the California Center of Longevity & Functional Medicine in Woodland Hills, CA in order to help you to maintain, and/or restore your optimal health.

To schedule a consultation and begin planning for integrative wellness & longevity health, contact us today at 818.346.1440