Adrenal glands (or also called suprarenal glands) are locatedon the top of the kidneys. These triangular shaped endocrine glands are responsiblefor the production of catecholamines, corticosteroids and sex steroids (sexhormones). All these hormones are included in different important processes inthe body, including: the reaction to stress and regulation of electrolyte andwater balance, blood sugar level or inflammation. Adrenal hormones are also knownto help maintaining pregnancy and initiate and control sexual maturation.
What are Adrenal Gland Disorders?
Improper function of adrenal glands is the most important causeof adrenal disorders. Another reason might be some other gland, responsible forthe control of adrenal glands. Some of the well known adrenal gland disordersare: congenital adrenal hyperplasia, Cushing’s syndrome and pituitary tumors.
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is a genetic problem, whenthe body doesn’t produce enough cortisol and sometimes not enough aldosterone. However,these patients may experience overproduction of male sexual hormones(androgens).
Cushing’s syndrome is a different type of problem, caused bytoo much cortisol produced by the body. This condition might be caused by somemedications, adrenal tumors or sometimes by adrenal hyperplasia.
Since the pituitary gland has the responsibility to regulatethe activity of adrenal glands, some pituitary tumors, especially benign onesmay affect adrenal glands. Cushing’s disease is actually Cushing’s syndromeprovoked by pituitary tumor. These tumors may also lead to Addison’s disease,reducing the amount of stress related adrenal hormones. The body of Addison’sdisease patients is unable to fight even some physiological stress and becauseof that the condition might be lethal.
Are These Adrenal Disorders Treatable
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is not something doctors cancure. The condition is, however, treatable. The treatment depends on a person,and it usually consists of replacement drugs to compensate natural lack. Some patientsmust use these medications every day, while others are required to take thesewhen not feeling well. Whatever the case, your doctor should decide about the treatment.
Cushing’s syndrome is treated according to the cause. If itwas caused by too much cortisol, doctors may recommend some medications,radiation and/or surgery. When drugs provoked Cushing’s syndrome, the usual treatmentis the decrease of the dose or a change of used medications.
Pituitary tumors are in most cases taken care with somesurgical procedure, especially if the tumors grow very fast. Other treatmentchoices can include: medications, radiation therapy or microsurgery, and the therapyis based on the type of the tumor and its size.