Adrenal gland: Disorders

Adrenal gland: Disorders

Are you aware of the disorders you can develop in your adrenal gland? If you don’t know, you should. Because this gland produces many important hormones in the body its disorders can lead to serious physical illness.  

So, you must know about the disorders that can happen to the adrenal gland.  

Adrenal glands are located at the top of your kidneys, also known as suprarenal glands these are small triangles in shape. The adrenal gland produces hormones like cortisol, aldosterone, and adrenaline. These hormones regulate important functions in the body including metabolism, blood pressure, immune system, response to stress, and development of sexual hormone tester tone and estrogen in men and women.  

Several factors can lead to adrenal gland disorders such as genetics, autoimmune diseases, an injury to the adrenal gland, any underlying disease, etc. It can give you symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, high blood pressure, and acne. In most cases, these conditions are treatable if you identify the underlying cause.  


Adrenal gland disorders happen when the adrenal gland either produces too much hormone or produces too little. Some common conditions include: 

1. Conn’s Syndrome: 

This disorder is also known as primary hyperaldosteronism (this disorder happens when your adrenal gland produces too much aldosterone). This can increase your blood pressure (which needs many medications to control). Some people also develop low potassium levels in the blood.  


These are the symptoms you develop from this disorder: 

  • High blood pressure 
  • Muscle aches and weakness 
  • Muscle spasms 


You can use medications such as spironolactone or eplerenone which can block the effects of aldosterone. You can have surgery to remove the part of the adrenal gland that overproduces aldosterone if medications are not effective.  

2. Cushing’s syndrome: 

This disorder is also known as hypercortisolism. In this condition, the adrenal gland produces too much cortisol hormone. It is triggered by a benign tumor that happens in the pituitary gland or any tumor that happens anywhere in the body to increase the production of ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone). Other than that, this syndrome is caused by medication(such as prednisone or dexamethasone) used to treat many autoimmune or inflammatory diseases. 


The symptoms you notice from this syndrome, include: 

  • Fatty deposits on certain parts such as the face, neck, and abdomen 
  • Thinning of arms and legs 
  • Purple stretch marks on the abdomen 
  • Fatigue 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Diabetes and other diseases.  
  • Easily bruised skin 


You can use medications such as ketoconazole, mitotane (Lysodren), and metyrapone (Metopirone) which can control the excessive production of cortisol from the adrenal gland. In case you have diabetes, mifepristone medicine can improve your condition.  

3. Pheochromocytoma:  

This condition is also known as adrenal paraganglioma or a chromaffin cell tumor, which is a rare tumor that increases the production of adrenaline or noradrenaline hormones (which usually happens in bursts). Pheochromocytoma also causes persistent high blood pressure which is hard to manage with regular medications. 


These are the symptoms you develop: 

  • Headaches 
  • Tremors 
  • Sweating 
  • Rapid heartbeat 
  • Anxiety 


The only way to cure this disease is by getting surgery to remove the tumor. Medication only helps to manage high blood pressure before or after the surgery to reduce the risk.  

4. Adrenal tumors:  

Also known as adrenal cancer or adrenocortical carcinoma. It is a rare condition that spreads to other organs and tissues by the time you notice or are diagnosed. This tumor grows big and large in diameter.  Cancerous adrenal tumors are functional and increase the production of some hormones which can give associated symptoms. Not all cancers generate or are found in the adrenal gland. However, the majority of adrenal tumors can spread from the tumor to elsewhere in the body.  


Symptoms of adrenal tumors include: 

  • Abdominal pain 
  • Flack pain 
  • The feeling of abdominal fullness especially happens when the adrenal tumor is very large.  


 Surgery of tumors is the only option to manage this disease. Sometimes some surrounding healthy tissue is also removed. The process where the adrenal gland is removed with a tumor is also called adrenalectomy.  

5. CAH (Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia): 

Also known as adrenal insufficiency, it is a genetic disorder found in infants or newborn babies who are born without an enzyme that is used to produce cortisol, aldosterone, or both. At the same time, some have high levels of androgen which may lead the female to develop male characteristics or precocious puberty in boys.  

This condition can go undiagnosed for a long time depending on the severity of enzyme deficiency. In severe cases, infants might suffer from vomiting, dehydration, or failure to thrive.  


Medication is given to infants to replace the low hormones. They’re given cortisol in the form of hydrocortisone. Adults can take hydrocortisone, prednisone, or dexamethasone, to replace cortisol. 

6. Addison’s disease:  

Also known as primary adrenal insufficiency, it is a rare condition that is caused by autoimmune diseases where the adrenal gland doesn’t produce adequate levels of cortisol and aldosterone.   


  • Weight loss 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Darkening of skin 
  • Fainting due to low blood pressure 
  • Low blood sugar levels 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Fatigue 


It is treated by CRT (cortisol replacement therapy) for life as this medication is used to replace the cortisol and aldosterone hormone (which is no longer produced) in your body.

Like other glands of the endocrine system, the adrenal gland is also an important gland that regulates many functions in the body through its hormones. If you develop any of the above-mentioned symptoms, visit the nearest doctor to diagnose your condition.  

Want to know the functions of the adrenal gland? At Doral Health and Wellness, we have doctors who can help you manage your condition. For more information, you can visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 11212, or call us on +1-347-384-5690. You can also visit our website at or contact us at if you have any queries.  

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