What are adrenal disorders?
The adrenal glands are a pair of triangular-shaped glands located on top of each kidney. They produce hormones such as aldosterone, cortisol, adrenaline and a small amount of sex hormones. These hormones are important in the regulation of blood pressure. Disease occurs when any of these hormones are produced in too high quantities, or if cortisol is deficient.
How do I know I may have adrenal disease?
Frequently, a doctor may order a CT or MRI scan of your abdomen for a separate reason and happen to discover a growth in one of your adrenal glands. These growths are usually benign. Nevertheless, a thorough evaluation of your adrenal hormones will be necessary.
High blood pressure that is difficult to control in spite of taking several different anti-hypertensive medication is another classic instance where you will have to be assessed for any excessive secretion of adrenal hormones. Recurrent spells of headaches, unexplained sweating, palpitations and chest pain may be caused by excessive adrenaline secretion.
On the other hand, persistent tiredness, giddiness, weight loss, nausea, unexplained vomiting and lack of energy may indicate cortisol deficiency, an essential hormone that must be replaced.