A pair of two glands that is found just above your kidneys is called adrenal gland. Adrenal gland is made up of two parts namely adrenal cortex and adrenal medulla. Adrenal gland is responsible for managing stress by secreting a special hormone called adrenaline that helps in preparing the body during stressful moments. Adrenal glands are triangular in shape measuring about 1-1.5 inches. The term ‘renal’ denotes kidney and ‘ad’ means near. Actually adrenal glands are active all the moments producing essential hormones for well-being in addition to secreting adrenaline for facing stress.
Parts Of Adrenal Gland :
Adrenal cortex is located in the outer part of the gland. It secretes two primary corticosteroid hormones called as mineral-corticoids and gluco-corticoids. Both these hormones are controlled by pituitary gland present in the brain. Glucocorticoids contains corticosterone and hydrocortisone. Hydrocortisone secretes cortisol which controls the metabolism of fats and proteins. It also checks your blood pressure and keeps it under control. Corticosterone along with hydrocortisone helps in regulating immune system and also reduces any inflammation in the body.
Adrenal cortex also secretes sex hormones in small quantities but their functions are minimal when compared with primary sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen. Adrenal medulla is the inner part of the gland and helps in managing emotional as well as physical stress. It releases its hormones when the sympathetic nervous system is activated during stressful moments.
Adrenal medulla also produces norepinephrine and epinephrine that helps in managing stress. Epinephrine increases blood flow to the brain and heart and increases the level of blood sugar to balance any sudden stress. Both the above parts of adrenal glands regulate the function of every organ and tissue in your body thus maintaining homeostasis. It helps in supplying energy from the body by stimulating various organs so that your stress is under control. Without adrenal glands your body may not tackle stress and adapt properly to the situation both physically and emotionally. Adrenal glands substitute the major sex hormones in women after menopause.
Disorders Of Adrenal Glands :
Adrenal Glands May Not Function Properly Due To Certain Diseases And Disorders Given Below :
- Addison’s disease can affect the adrenal cortex thus producing insufficient amounts of cortisol and aldosterone the body demands.
- Adrenal cancer is a rare type of cancer that develops in the adrenal glands which can cause serious changes in the body due to over-production of hormones.
- Cushing’s syndrome is one that causes excess of cortisol production. This can cause increase in blood pressure, increase in weight and increase in blood sugar level (diabetes).
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is inherited disorder marked by reduced production of cortisol hormone.
- Pheochromocytoma is a rare type of cancer causing tumor in the adrenal medulla region. This in turn causes over production of epinephrine and norepinephrine.
- Hyperaldosteronism is a rare disorder that causes increased secretion of aldosterone leading to rise in the levels of sodium and potassium in blood.