Did you know that if you lose weight, it is a sign that you have developed a condition called adrenal sufficiency? The Adrenal gland is an essential gland in your body that produces many important hormones to perform body functions.  

You need to know the conditions that you might develop if you fail to maintain your hormonal levels. Keep reading this article to get an insight into the adrenal gland.
 

The adrenal gland is one of the most essential glands in the endocrine system after the pituitary gland. It is also known as the suprarenal gland. It is located on the top of your kidneys. It produces hormones such as cortisol, aldosterone, and adrenaline that perform their functions. If your body develops abnormal levels of adrenal hormones, you develop some serious health conditions such as adrenal gland tumors, autoimmune diseases, Cushing’s syndrome, etc.  

So, you must maintain your hormonal levels with a good diet and lifestyle.  

Where is it located?  

Located on the top of your kidneys in the upper abdomen, are small triangular glands. Each adrenal gland has two parts: the cortex and the medulla.  

  • The cortex is the outer part of the gland which produces the hormones cortisol and aldosterone.  
  • The medulla is the inner part of the gland that produces adrenaline and noradrenaline hormones.  

What does it do? 

The adrenal hormones perform very essential functions in the body such as:  

  • Metabolism 
  • Immune system  
  • Blood sugar levels 
  • Blood pressure 
  • Salt and water balance 
  • Pregnancy
  • Stress response 
  • Sexual development before and during puberty 
  • Help to maintain balance in sex hormones including estrogen and testosterone 

Hormones secreted  

The adrenal gland secretes 4 hormones in the bloodstream. These hormones then perform their assigned functions in the body, including: 

1. Cortisol:  

This is a glucocorticoid hormone that performs several functions in the body. It helps to regulate the body’s use of fats, protein, and carbohydrates. It also helps to control blood pressure, suppress inflammation, increase blood sugar levels during fight and flight response and manage your wake-sleep cycle. It also increases in stressful or emergency situations to provide the energy boost to manage the situation.  

2. Aldosterone: 

This is a mineralocorticoid hormone that plays an important role in controlling blood pressure and levels of sodium and potassium (electrolytes) in the bloodstream. The aldosterone hormone regulates your blood pH (how acidic or basic it is) by controlling the levels of electrolytes in the blood.  

3. DHEA and androgenic steroids:  

These hormones are weak male hormones that do not make a bigger impact on your biology. These hormones convert into the female’s hormone (estrogens) in the ovaries and males, and they convert into male hormones (androgens) in the testes. Androgen is a natural male hormone; however, the female body also produces androgens in smaller numbers.  

4. Adrenaline and noradrenaline:  

These hormones are released by the medulla of the adrenal gland and are known as fight and flight hormones. These hormones increase the heart rate and heart contractions, increasing blood flow to your muscles and brain and assisting you in the metabolism of glucose to provide you with an energy boost. They also control blood vessels squeezing which helps to maintain blood pressure. These hormones are released when you are struggling physically or emotionally in stressful situations to provide you with additional sources and energy to manage that strain.
 

Disorders  

The adrenal gland can lead to adrenal gland disorders when they produce too much or too little of one or more of their hormones. Some conditions are acute while others are chronic, including: 

  • Addison’s disease: This is a rare autoimmune disease when the adrenal gland releases too little cortisol and aldosterone hormone.                                                                                               
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia: In this condition, your body lacks an enzyme when you are born that is required for adrenal glands to produce hormones.  
  • Cushing syndrome: This condition develops when your adrenal glands produce too much cortisol. Most are caused by tumors or certain medications.  
  • Hirsutism: This condition happens when you get excessive hair growth due to elevated levels of androgens. 
  • Primary Aldosteronism/Conn’s syndrome: This condition happens when your body produces too much aldosterone. 
  • Pheochromocytoma: This condition is caused by a tumor that increases the production of adrenaline and noradrenaline in the bloodstream.  
  • Adrenal cancer: This is a rare disease that grows over time and affects different parts and organs of the body.  

The adrenal gland is responsible for maintaining and regulating crucial functions of the body from its hormones. If you suffer from any condition or have symptoms of any adrenal condition, you should visit the doctor for early treatment. Some conditions can be resolved quickly and some stay lifetime, but they are easily manageable with treatment so that you can live a healthy life.
 

Want to know more about adrenal gland disorders? 

Call us at 718-DORAL-55 to schedule a consultation.