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Adrenal Gland Disorders

Summary

The adrenal glands are small glands located on top of each kidney. They produce hormones that you can't live without, including sex hormones and cortisol. Cortisol helps you respond to stress and has many other important functions.

With adrenal gland disorders, your glands make too much or not enough hormones. In Cushing's syndrome, there's too much cortisol, while with Addison's disease, there is too little. Some people are born unable to make enough cortisol.

Causes of adrenal gland disorders include

  • Genetic mutations
  • Tumors including pheochromocytomas
  • Infections
  • A problem in another gland, such as the pituitary, which helps to regulate the adrenal gland
  • Certain medicines

Treatment depends on which problem you have. Surgery or medicines can treat many adrenal gland disorders.

NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Start Here

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Symptoms

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Diagnosis and Tests

  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
  • (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
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  • Cortisol Test From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
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Treatments and Therapies

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Living With

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Related Issues

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
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  • (Endocrine Society, Hormone Health Network)

Specifics

  • Adrenal Gland Cancer: FreeFacebookCredits2012 Health Topic From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
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Genetics

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  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)

Statistics and Research

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Clinical Trials

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Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

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Find an Expert

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Children

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Teenagers

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Patient Handouts

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