Diseases Diseases

About Adrenal Gland Diseases

At the top of each kidney lies a gland, which produces hormones vital to living. These glands are called adrenal glands. Adrenal glands are no longer than three inches and less than an inch high. Adrenal exhaustion can occur after high levels of stress since this can cause the glands to be over stimulated. Adrenal Gland diseases occasionally occur and are usually not fatal.

Cushing’s Syndrome

The main hormone your adrenal glands produce is called cortisol. Cortisol is a steroid hormone, which is released in response to stress. Cushing’s syndrome is an adrenal gland diseases caused by the body’s over-exposure to this hormone. Cushing’s syndrome can be caused by the over-production of cortisol by the adrenal glands, or if you’ve been prescribed corticosteroid medications such as for treating asthma or arthritis. The reason for your increased cortisol levels will determine how these adrenal gland diseases are treated.

The symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome include:

  • Upper body obesity with thinner arms and legs
  • A round face
  • Slow growth rate in children
  • Skin that easily bruises
  • AcneSkin infections
  • Bone pain and tenderness
  • Excessive hair growth on the face, neck and chest of woman
  • Decreased sex drive in men


Addison’s Disease

Another one of the adrenal gland diseases is Addison’s disease. Addison’s disease is the opposite of Cushing’s disease; Addison’s results from not having enough cortisol in your body. Furthermore, a hormone called aldosterone might be deficient as well. Many times this adrenal gland disease is caused by a faulty immune system, which attacks your own tissues, thereby damaging your adrenal glands. This adrenal gland diseases occurs in both sexes and all age groups.

Symptoms for Addison’s disease include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Low blood pressure
  • Patchy dark spots on the skin
  • Unexplained weight-loss

Lab tests are used to determine if someone has Addison’s disease. Most treatments for these adrenal gland diseases are life-long use of hormone pills. This is a serious disease that will result in death if not treated. Many Addison’s patients carry an emergency ID card stating that they have the disease.

Adrenal Exhaustion

The most common of the adrenal gland diseases is adrenal fatigue. The main complaint is feeling tired constantly regardless of the amount of sleep you get. Energy levels may seem to be at an all-time low. If this tiredness is following an unusual amount of emotional stress in your life, it very well could be adrenal exhaustion.

Other symptoms of adrenal exhaustion include:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Constant strong cravings for either sweet foods or salty foods
  • Problems with digestion
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Mood changes

The treatment of adrenal gland fatigue does not require medication, but rather a change in lifestyle and coping strategies. The first key to recovery is learning how to manage your stress level; you will never recover if you continue to live in a stressful state. Exercising regularly can help to relieve the amount of stress in your life, which will start the healing process. Moreover, eat a healthier diet. If you eat a lot of junk food, now would be a good time to clean up your diet because it will help your adrenal exhaustion heal by feeding your body the right foods. Use sea salt rather than table salt as this can help heal, and it has many other benefits as well. Supplement with vitamin C and E daily, both can be useful in overcoming adrenal fatigue.

Tips and comments

Seek medical attention of any of the above symptoms appear or if you have a family history of adrenal gland diseases.

By Zoe Newf, published at 03/25/2012
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