Types of Adrenal Disorders
Adrenal disorders are serious health issues that adversely affect the human body’s two adrenal glands. Located on the top of each kidney, these glands produce the hormones adrenaline and norepinephrine, the steroid hormones aldosterone and cortisol, and sex hormones, which are all necessary for regulating the human body’s metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, and other essential functions.
Adrenal disorders usually cause the adrenal glands to produce too much or too little of these key hormones, which can lead to a host of metabolic, immunological, and blood-pressure related complications. The adrenal disorders that can affect the adrenal glands’ normal hormone production include the following:
- Addison’s disease (adrenal insufficiency) – This a rare condition in which the adrenal glands produce too little cortisol and sometimes not enough aldosterone.
- Cushing’s syndrome – This condition occurs when the adrenal glands produce too much cortisol for an extended period of time.
- Adrenocortical carcinoma – This is a rare condition in which malignant cancer cells form in the adrenal cortex, the outer layer of the adrenal glands.
- Pheochromocytoma – This condition occurs when the tumors form in the adrenal medulla, the inner portion of the adrenal glands.
- Hyperaldosteronism – This condition occurs when the adrenal glands produce too much aldosterone.
- Hypoaldosteronism – This condition occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce enough aldosterone.
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia – This is a genetic condition that hinders the adrenal glands’ ability to produce cortisol and sometimes aldosterone; a lack of these two steroid hormones can disrupt normal childhood development, including the development of genitals.
To treat these adrenal disorders, doctors may administer hormone replacement therapy, prescribe medications that lower hormone levels, or excise a tumor, depending on the specific condition.
Tampa General Hospital utilizes cutting edge technology to treat adrenal disorders, and has received recognition from U.S. News & World Report as one of America's Best Hospitals for Diabetes & Endocrinology.