Adrenal disorder is a disease which affects normal functioning of Adrenal Glands. Adrenal glands are small, triangular glands located on the top of each kidney. The Adrenal gland has two main parts called as adrenal cortex and adrenal medulla. A human cannot live without hormones produced by Adrenal glands. The adrenal medulla is responsible for producing epinephrine and norepinephrine hormones while adrenal medulla is responsible for producing hormones which control fluid and salt balance in the body. The adrenal cortex also produces sex hormones. Adrenal disorder causes hyperfunction and hypofunction of adrenal glands.
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Type of Adrenal Disorders
Major types of Adrenal disorders are:
- Adrenal Cancer
Adrenal Cancer is a rare, aggressive form of cancer in which cancer cells are found in the adrenal cortex. Early diagnosis is very crucial to control adrenal cancer otherwise it can spread and damage other organs. Treatment consists of surgery to remove the Adrenal cancer.
- Adrenal Incidentaloma
Adrenal Incidentaloma are tumors found on the adrenal gland. Generally Adrenal incidentaloma is detected when patient examines for other conditions like stomach pain or injury. CT or MRI scan is used to detect whether tumor is cancerous or not. In case of cancerous tumor, endocrinologist performs laparoscopic surgery to remove tumor.
- Adrenal Insufficiency
Adrenal Insufficiency is also known as Addison’s disease. This is a life threatening disease affecting both male and female at any age. Addison’s disease occurs due to the less production of cortisol and aldosterone hormones.
- Cushing’s Disease
Cushing’s disease occurs when a person is exposed for a long time to high levels of certain chemicals called adrenal glucocorticoids, one of which is called as cortisol. Normally the adrenal glands produces sufficient amount of cortisol which handles stress but symptoms of Cushing’s disease starts appearing when the amount of cortisol is much higher in the body.
Pheochromocytomas are tumors that develop in the adrenal medulla which can cause overproduction of epinephrine and norepinephrine. These hormones are helpful in maintaining proper blood pressure. In most of the cases, excess production of epinephrine and norepinephrine hormones cause high blood pressure. Pheochromocytomas is a rare disease. If it is untreated then it can cause serious health conditions including heart attack, stroke and other life-threatening conditions.
- Primary Hyperaldosteronism
Primary Hyperaldosteronism is also called as Conn’s Syndrome. It occurs due to the overproduction of aldosterone hormone by the adrenal glands. Treatment includes Laparoscopical adrenalectomy which involves removal of the adrenal gland having a tumor.
Symptoms of Adrenal Disorders
Adrenal disorders have various symptoms as per the type of adrenal diseases. Common symptoms include:
- Upper body obesity, round face and neck and thinning arms and legs
- Skin problems, such as acne or reddish-blue streaks on the abdomen or underarm area
- Episodes of Low and High blood pressure
- Muscle and bone weakness
- Moodiness, irritability or depression
- low growth rates in children
- Abdominal pain
- High blood sugar
- Extreme fatigue
- Nausea or vomiting
- Weight loss
- Blurred vision
Causes of Adrenal Disorders
- Highest level of Hormone production
- Lowest level of Hormone production
- Genetic mutation
- Tumor development
- Pituitary gland malfunctioning
- Stress in people
- Metastatic diseases
- Thyroid diseases
- Fungal infections
Causes of Adrenal Disorders
Many adrenal disorders can cause life threatening conditions if it is not detected at right time. Early diagnosis is very important to avoid severe complications in the future. Common diagnosis methods include
- Blood test
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- Urine test
Treatment of Adrenal Disorders
Adrenal Disorder treatment is mainly depending on the type of adrenal disorder.
Endocrinologist prescribes effective medicines or drugs to maintain proper hormonal level in the body. The medication is taken orally once or twice a day.
In case of non-cancerous tumor, doctor performs laparoscopic surgery to just remove the tumor.
If tumor is cancerous then doctor not only removes tumor surgically but patient also has to undergo radiation and chemotherapy to avoid recurrence of tumor.
Sometimes, doctor performs Laparoscopical Adrenalectomy. In this surgery, doctor removes adrenal gland that has the tumor. Laparoscopic Adrenalectomy is performed to avoid infection or damage to nearby organs.
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