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Adrenal Gland Disorders

The adrenal glands are small glands located on top of each kidney. They produce hormones that you can't live without, including sex hormones and cortisol. Cortisol helps you respond to stress and has many other important functions.

With adrenal gland disorders, your glands make too much or not enough hormones. In Cushing's syndrome, there's too much cortisol, while with Addison's disease, there is too little. Some people are born unable to make enough cortisol.

Causes of adrenal gland disorders include

  • Genetic mutations
  • Tumors including pheochromocytomas
  • Infections
  • A problem in another gland, such as the pituitary, which helps to regulate the adrenal gland
  • Certain medicines

Treatment depends on which problem you have. Surgery or medicines can treat many adrenal gland disorders.

NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Symptoms of Adrenal Gland Disorders

The following features are indicative of Adrenal Gland Disorders:
  • making excessive or lesser hormones

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Common Causes of Adrenal Gland Disorders

The following are the most common causes of Adrenal Gland Disorders:
  • pheochromocytomas
  • genetic mutations
  • problems with one or both adrenal glands

Prevention of Adrenal Gland Disorders

No, it is not possible to prevent Adrenal Gland Disorders.
  • genetic mutations in HLA-DRB1 gene

Occurrence of Adrenal Gland Disorders

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Adrenal Gland Disorders cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Rare between 10K - 50K cases

Common Age Group

Adrenal Gland Disorders most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged between 35-50 years

Common Gender

Adrenal Gland Disorders can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Adrenal Gland Disorders

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Adrenal Gland Disorders:
  • Blood and urine tests: To measure the amount of adrenal hormones
  • Computed tomography scan: To diagnose an adrenal gland tumor
  • Metaiodobenzylguanidine scan: To detect a neuroendocrine tumor
  • Screening tests: To measure the cortisol levels in saliva and in urine
  • Screening test: To diagnose Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia in infants
  • Vision test: To check the sight or peripheral vision affected by the growth of pituitary tumor
  • ACTH stimulation test: To measure cortisol levels in the blood and urine
  • CRH stimulation test: To measure cortisol levels in the blood
  • Blood and urine tests: To measure the levels of aldosterone and potassium

Doctor for Diagnosis of Adrenal Gland Disorders

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Adrenal Gland Disorders:
  • Surgeon
  • Endocrinologist
  • Radiation oncologist
  • Medical oncologist

Complications of Adrenal Gland Disorders if untreated

Yes, Adrenal Gland Disorders causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Adrenal Gland Disorders is left untreated:
  • tumor can spread to bones, liver, or lung
  • vision loss
  • permanent hormone deficiency
  • bone loss
  • high blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • frequent or unusual infections
  • loss of muscle mass and strength
  • adrenal crisis
  • impaired production of aldosterone
  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • kidney failure
  • acute respiratory distress
  • damage to nerves of the eye

Procedures for Treatment of Adrenal Gland Disorders

The following procedures are used to treat Adrenal Gland Disorders:
  • Hormone replacement therapy: To correct the levels of steroid hormones that your body is not producing
  • Surgery: To remove a pituitary tumor
  • Radiation therapy: To remove a pituitary tumor if it cannot remove completely through surgery
  • Chemotherapy: To kill fast- growing cancer cells
  • Targeted cancer therapies: Blocks the functioning of naturally occurring molecules that promote the growth and spread of cancer cells

Self-care for Adrenal Gland Disorders

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Adrenal Gland Disorders:
  • Keep extra medication handy: Always keep a small supply of medication at a vacation home, at work and in your travel bag, in case if you forget to take your pills
  • Eat sensibly: Eat nutritious and wholesome foods and lose weight

Patient Support for Treatment of Adrenal Gland Disorders

The following actions may help Adrenal Gland Disorders patients:
  • Education: Learn as much as you can about your condition
  • Share your feelings with others in similar diseases or situations
  • Check to see if support groups for people with pituitary tumors and their families are available in your area

Time for Treatment of Adrenal Gland Disorders

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Adrenal Gland Disorders to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • More than 1 year

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Adrenal Gland Disorders.
Addison Disease
Adrenal Gland Cancer
Cushing's Syndrome

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