With adrenal gland disorders, your glands make too much or not enough hormones.

The body needs assistance when controlling blood sugar, burning fat and protein–this is where the adrenal gland comes into play. Adrenal glands are at the top of each kidney, and not only do they produce hormones that control the functions above, but they also regulate blood pressure and how one reacts to stressors (illness or injuries). Adrenal hormones consist of cortisol, aldosterone, adrenaline, and acute amounts of androgens (sex hormones). When too much or too little is produced, an adrenal disorder arises. The cause of these disorders varies, but they can be congenital, caused by infections, issues with the pituitary tumors, or by certain medications.

One form of overproduction is called Cushing Syndrome (too much cortisol). It can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and other health complications if not treated. When too much aldosterone is produced, blood pressure rises. If this is not regulated, it will put the patient at risk for stroke, heart attack, heart failure, or kidney failure. Addison’s disease, or adrenal insufficiency (lack of production), complications may include fatigue, muscle weakness, decreased appetite, and weight loss.

Symptoms Include:

Upper body obesity, round face and neck, and thinning arms and legs
Skin problems, such as acne or reddish-blue streaks on the abdomen or underarm area
High blood pressure
Muscle and bone weakness

Muscle and bone weakness
Moodiness, irritability, or depression
High blood sugars
Slow growth rate in children

Treatment varies by the condition. Surgical removal of tumors in the adrenal or pituitary gland and removal of the gland itself is available. Medication is also used to stop overproduction. Another option is hormone replacement therapy.


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