Menu   WellSpan Health

Health Library

Health Library

Overview of Adrenal Disorders

The two adrenal glands are small and triangular, with one located atop of each kidney. For this reason, they have been called the suprarenal glands. Each adrenal gland has an outer region (called the adrenal cortex) and an inner region (called the adrenal medulla). The adrenal glands coordinate with the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain to secrete hormones that regulate metabolism, blood chemistry, and many physical characteristics. Adrenal glands also secrete hormones during significant physical or emotional stress.

Hormones secreted by the adrenal glands include:

  • From the adrenal cortex:

    • Corticosteroid hormones (hydrocortisone or cortisol). Help control the body's metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, suppress inflammation, and sustain  immune function.

    • Aldosterone. Maintains blood volume and blood pressure by inhibiting the amount of sodium excreted into the urine. 

    • Androgenic steroids (androgen hormones). Affect the development of pubic and underarm hair, and production of adult body odor.

Hormones secreted by the adrenal glands also include:

  • From the adrenal medulla:

    • Epinephrine (adrenaline). Increases the heart rate and force of heart contractions, facilitates blood flow to the muscles and brain, relaxes smooth muscles in arteries, converts starch to simple sugar in the liver, and other activities.

    • Norepinephrine (noradrenaline).  Increases blood pressure through strong vasoconstrictive effects (narrowing of the blood vessels).

Certain genetic adrenal gland disorders are characterized by an inability of the adrenal glands to produce cortisol (also known as hydrocortisone) and aldosterone starting before birth (congenital). Because of a missing enzyme (a substance that speeds up or performs essential chemical reactions), intermediate chemicals may be diverted within the adrenal gland to produce excessive androgens that masculinize affected females. Infants born in the United States are screened for the most common form of this congenital adrenal disorder.

 

Overview of Adrenal Disorders - WellSpan Health

Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Turley, Ray, BSN, MSN
Last Review Date: 2014-09-15T00:00:00
Last Modified Date: 2014-09-29T00:00:00
Posting Date: 2008-11-30T00:00:00
Published Date: 2014-09-29T00:00:00
Last Review Date: 2008-09-30T00:00:00
© 2015 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

I would like to:

Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×

Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to www.mywellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.

×