Adrenal gland disorders

The adrenal glands can best be described as two small, triangular shaped glands that are located on top of the kidneys. They are covered in a connective tissue capsule that is typically hidden in a layer of fat and are usually orange in color. The adrenal cortex forms the outside of the gland and the adrenal medulla forms the inside of the gland. The adrenal glands work in conjunction with the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in the brain. Between them, they will produce a variety of hormones that are essential components for your health and vitality.

Adrenal glands are responsible for the functioning of tissues, organs and glands in the body. They will also affect the way that you think. Adrenal glands can help to manage blood sugar levels, regulate inflammation and they will also maintain the balance of salt and water in the body. The adrenals primary function is to assist the body in dealing with stress. This will include emotional, physical and psychological stress. If your body has low adrenal functions, you may struggle to adapt to certain stress-related conditions such as illness, injury, feeling overworked and under pressure, insomnia, relationship problems or even financial difficulties.

Adrenal gland disorders mainly occur when the adrenal glands are not working properly. This can often cause a problem in another gland that will usually regulate the adrenal gland. There are numerous forms of adrenal gland disorder and these include:

  • Cushing’s syndrome is when a person’s body is exposed to too much cortisol. If you are suffering from this syndrome you will produce more of the hormone cortisol than your body actually needs. An example of this will be adrenal tumors, which are known to cause the body to produce too much cortisol. Some babies are, unfortunately, born with a form of adrenal hyperplasia which can lead to Cushing syndrome. Another reason for Cushing syndrome is that certain medications are known to cause the body to make too much cortisol.
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is mainly known as a genetic disorder of adrenal gland deficiency. Your body will not be able to produce enough cortisol and often people with this condition will also have other hormone imbalances. These can include your body making too much androgen, or not enough aldosterone.
  • Pituitary tumors, which are typically benign (non cancerous) will sometimes grow in the pituitary gland, which may well restrict the hormones it releases. The pituitary gland is located in the brain and actually helps regulate the activity of most other glands in the body.
  • Cushing disease is when tumors on the pituitary leads to Cushing’s syndrome. The tumors may cause the adrenal glands to release a reduced amount of hormones that are usually needed as a response to stress. If your body is unable to handle the physiological stress, this may lead to a fatal condition known as Addison’s disease.

There are numerous treatments for adrenal gland disorders, although these will very much depend on your specific disorder and the actual cause of the disorder:

  • Cushing’s syndrome will be treated depending on the cause. If the excess amount of cortisol is caused by medication, this can usually be corrected by changing dosage that is recommended by your doctor or health care provider. If this syndrome is caused by your body making too much cortisol, there are certain oral medications, surgery or radiation that may be required.
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia cannot, unfortunately, be cured. However it can still be treated and controlled. This is usually done by taking medication to replace the hormones that your body is unable to make. Certain people will need to take these medications every single day, whereas others will only require them when they are sick.
  • Pituitary tumors can be successfully treated with microsurgery, surgery, radiation therapy, drugs, or a combination of all these treatments. Surgery is currently the most common form of treatment for tumors which grow extremely quickly, especially if they are going to affect or even threaten your vision. The actual treatment plan that is required for pituitary tumors will vary according to the type and size of the tumor.

There have also been numerous holistic and natural remedies that are known to be highly effective as a treatment for adrenal gland disorders. The majority of remedies are aimed at addressing the actual symptoms of adrenal gland health disorder, as well as being able to promote your overall health and well-being. You will find that many homoeopathic remedies are both gentle and effective without causing many of the harmful side effects that are associated with conventional medicine. It is not recommended that you merely choose a natural remedy to treat an adrenal gland disorder, but it should be used in combination with your current treatment. However it is important that you discuss any proposed treatment with a homeopath and your health care provider.

Last updated on Apr 4th, 2011 and filed under Endocrine System. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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