These glands are located just above the kidneys. There are two regions of the adrenal glands: the center which is known as the medulla, and the cortex, which surrounds the medulla. The medulla controls hormones that are directly related to coping with stress, and the cortex produces hormones that controls blood pressure, regulates metabolism, and some sexual characteristics.
The adrenal glands work very closely with the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands. The hypothalamus produces hormones that will stimulate the pituitary glands and in turn, the activated pituitary glands produce hormones that stimulate the adrenal glands and the continuous production of life giving hormones.
In short, adrenal disorders are when the glands become under- or over-active, causing the production of hormones to be off-balance.
Some symptoms associated with adrenal gland disorders include:
- Increased fat around the face and neck
- Thinning extremities (ie: arms and legs)
- High blood pressure
About 4 in every 100,000 people in the U.S. are deficient in adrenal hormones. When the cortex is underactive, the disease is referred to as Addison’s disease. Symptoms may include low blood pressure, increased craving of salt, dizziness, and nausea. If adrenal insufficiency is not treated promptly, it could result in “adrenal crisis,” and if not treated at this point, it could be fatal. Therefore, since adrenal insufficiency is considered life-threatening, patients should always wear a medical alert necklace or bracelet.
Causes of Addison’s disease:
- The adrenal glands do not produce sufficient cortisol.
- Damage to the cortex (outer layer of the adrenal glands) causes an inability to produce sufficient amounts of much needed hormones.
- An autoimmune disorder that will cause the immune system to attack healthy tissue. In regards to Addison’s disease, the immune system will attack the adrenal glands.
Symptoms of Addison’s disease include but are not limited to:
- Joint pain
- Loss of appetite resulting in weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain, constipation, and/or diarrhea
- Discoloration of the skin
- Craving salt products
- Dizziness upon standing up
On the other hand, when the adrenal glands produce an abundance of hormones, the disease is known as Cushing’s disease.
Some causes relating to Cushing’s disease:
- Over production of cortisol by the adrenal glands.
- Consumption of high doses of steroids over a long period of time. Steroids are commonly prescribed to treat other diseases such as lupus, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis. Organ transplant patients may also be given steroids.
- A tumor on the gland could also be the cause of Cushing’s disease.
Symptoms associated with Cushing’s disease:
- Weight gain around mid-section
- Increased acne
- Bruise easily
- Weakening of bones
- High blood sugar levels
- Women may also experience facial hair growth and irregular menstrual cycles
Call our office today at 949-650-0616, and get tested for Adrenal disorders, and see how we can help you. In the meantime, it is important to keep in mind that your adrenal glands are not happy when they have to deal with excess fat; so it is highly advised to avoid trans fats, fried foods, saturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. Additionally, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol should be avoided.