An Overview of the Adrenal Glands

The adrenal glands are paired glands of the endocrine system of the body, which secrete various hormonal substances – epinephrine and cortisol, responsible for metabolic processes; aldosterone, which exercises control over potassium and sodium in the body, over the indices of blood pressure. With the development of violations of the adrenal glands, the concentrations of these hormones either decrease or increase.

Causes of adrenal insufficiency

The most common cause of adrenal insufficiency is an autoimmune reaction. In this case, the body’s own immunity begins to destroy the glands.

Other causes of adrenal insufficiency include the development of diseases – tuberculosis and infectious lesions, malignant tumors. Addison’s disease can occur as a reaction to taking drugs that lower the blood’s ability to clot.

Cushing’s disease is characterized by an excessive amount of cortisol produced. As a rule, the provoking factor in the development of this disease is the use of cortisone drugs. Another cause of Cushing’s disease is a neoplasm in the pituitary gland of a benign nature that causes excessive production of an adrenocorticotropic substance that causes the glands to secrete cortisol. The third reason for the development of such a violation of adrenal function, as Cushing’s disease, is a tumor of both the adrenal glands and other internal organs.

Pheochromocytoma is an adrenal neoplasm that leads to the production of large quantities of hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine. These hormonal compounds are responsible for the frequency of contractile movements of the heart muscle and blood pressure indicators. The cause of neoplasm development remains unclear, but more often it begins to develop in individuals of young and middle age groups. As a rule, this type of tumor is benign.

Kohn’s disease is a violation of the adrenal function, which produces a large amount of aldosterone, responsible for the amount of blood and the content of potassium and sodium in it. The main cause of this disorder of the adrenal gland function is complications of kidney or heart failure, liver cirrhosis.

Prevention of adrenal insufficiency

You should try not to take corticosteroid drugs.

Diagnosis of adrenal gland disorders

Violations of adrenal function are established on the basis of signs and laboratory studies. Common signs – lethargy and weakness, sudden weight loss or weight gain. At development of disease Addison there is no appetite, pulls to eat salty products. In addition, chronic diarrhea and hyperpigmentation of the skin develop.

With Cushing’s disease, the shape of the face changes pathologically – it acquires a roundness and a reddish hue. In the interblade area begins to grow a hump. Other manifestations are strong and persistent thirst, frequent urge to urinate, high blood pressure. With the development of the disease, a man may have problems with erection.

Symptoms of Coon’s disease – high blood pressure, pain in the temples, limb separation and temporary paralysis.

To make a diagnosis, blood is taken to the laboratory to establish the content of hormones. In addition, the urine of the patient is taken for analysis. Other diagnostic techniques may include computer tomography and magnetic resonance imaging.