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Adrenal glands

What are adrenal glands?

Adrenal glands also known as suprarenal glands are glands that are small, triangle-shaped. They are positioned on top of the kidneys. They are an integral part of the endocrine system as it produces hormones responsible for regulating various essential bodily functions which include:

Adrenal glands are composed of two parts which are the medulla and the cortex. Each part is accountable for making different hormones.

What hormones are produced by adrenal glands?

Adrenal glands produce and release the following important hormones:

  • Cortisol- A glucocorticoid hormone is helpful in controlling the body’s use of carbs, fats, and proteins. It ensures the suppression of inflammation, regulates blood pressure and controls the sleep-wake cycle.
  • Aldosterone- A mineralocorticoid hormone benefits regulating blood pressure and managing the sodium including potassium levels in the blood.
  • DHEA and androgenic steroids- These weak male hormones means that they cannot cause biological impact. They are converted into estrogen in the female ovaries and androgens in the male testes.
  • Adrenaline and noradrenaline- Also known as fight or flight hormones, they are called catecholamines. They can increase the heart rate and heart contractions, increasing the blood flow to muscles and the brain. It helps to maintain blood pressure by squeezing the blood vessels.

What are the common adrenal glands disorders?

There are various adrenal gland disorders affected by several conditions. This occurs when the adrenal gland does not produce enough or none of the hormones. Some adrenal gland conditions are temporary but some are very dangerous and life-long. There are many causes of adrenal glands disorders and some of them are as follows:

  • Autoimmune disease
  • Tumours
  • Genetic mutations
  • Steroid medications like dexamethasone
  • Damage to the adrenal glands due to injury, blood loss, or infection
  • Problems with the hypothalamus or pituitary gland

What are the conditions of the adrenal glands?

Here are the conditions of the adrenal glands:

  • Addison’s disease- An autoimmune disease which is rare and causes the production of lower levels of cortisol and aldosterone than normal
  • Cushing’s syndrome- It occurs when the adrenal glands are producing too much cortisol
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia- An individual is born with the condition. There is a deficiency of an enzyme in the body which makes it difficult for adrenal glands to produce hormones
  • Excessive hair growth- Also known as hirsutism is a condition which occurs when females and people assigned female at birth have too much hair growth because of high androgen level
  • Conn’s syndrome- It occurs when there is too much aldosterone production by adrenal glands
  • Massive bilateral adrenal haemorrhage- It is an acute condition which causes adrenal gland failure because of bleeding in the gland.

What are the symptoms of adrenal gland disease?

The adrenal gland disease symptoms vary depending on the affected hormones. Here are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent high blood sugar
  • Low blood sugar
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent sickness
  • Infections
  • High blood pressure or low blood pressure
  • Excessive facial hair growth
  • Acne

How are adrenal gland disorders diagnosed?

A healthcare provider can order some blood and urine tests if someone is experiencing symptoms of adrenal gland disorders. It will assist the doctor to evaluate the different hormonal levels. Here are common tests usually recommended for adrenal glands disease diagnosis:

  • Computed tomography or CT scans
  • Magnetic resource imaging tests or MRI
  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Nuclear scan
  • Pituitary gland test in certain cases

What are the treatment options for adrenal gland disorders?

The treatment options for adrenal gland disorders depend on the type of condition and its severity. Specific treatments which are usually followed to treat adrenal gland disorders are as:

  • Medications- To stop the excessive hormonal production
  • Hormonal replacement medication
  • Surgery- For removing tumours in the adrenal gland
  • Surgery- To remove one or both the adrenal glands
  • Minimally invasive surgery for tumours removal in the pituitary gland

Why should you choose BM Birla Heart Research Centre for adrenal gland disorder treatment?

BM Birla heart research centre is the only cardiac health service provider in the eastern region of the country. It was established with the motive of a healthy India. We not only have integrated a team of the best healthcare professionals but people who realise that “when it’s about heart, time can mean everything”. We are a state-of-the-art hospital delivering exceptional heart care services for decades. We endeavour to form an exceptional cardiac care delivery system, synergizing clinical skills with empathetic patient care.

Our healthcare specialists ensure putting their best efforts to offer their best services. We deliver a wide-ranging service in medical, interventional, and surgical care. So, if you experience any symptoms related to adrenal gland disorder, then consult our professionals and find the treatment that’s suitable for you.


Which hormone is secreted by adrenal glands?

Cortisol and aldosterone are the hormones secreted by adrenal glands.

Which chemical stimulates adrenal glands?

The hypothalamus makes corticotropin-releasing hormones which stimulate the pituitary gland so that it can secrete adrenocorticotropic hormone (ATCH). It then stimulates the adrenal glands to produce and release cortisol.

Can you live with one adrenal gland?

Yes, you can live with one adrenal gland as our body has the efficiency of adapting to one adrenal gland and secrete the hormones required for daily living.

How to balance adrenal glands?

Here are some tips that help in balancing adrenal glands:

  • Eating a meal within an hour after you wake up
  • Skip processed food
  • Taking Vitamin B supplements
  • Include protein in your diet
  • Quit caffeine or at least limit the intake
  • Don’t involve in high-impact exercise
  • Go out in the fresh air


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