Types of Adrenal problems
Adrenal hormone deficiency has several different potential causes. It can be caused by a condition called Addison’s disease which stops both your adrenal glands from working. But more commonly, medical treatment that has suppressed or damaged your glands can also do this (adrenal insufficiency). For example this can happen if you have had treatment with steroids. These are commonly used to treat asthma and arthritis among other conditions. High dose steroids can put your adrenal glands to sleep. Furthermore they don’t always wake up when treatment is stopped. So you may need long term treatment with steroids, even when the condition they were being used for has resolved.
If you have adrenal insufficiency which is not treated, you may suffer from symptoms like fatigue, dizziness and weight loss. These symptoms can be life threatening. So treatment of adrenal insufficiency can save your life. If you would like more information about Addison’s disease please look at; https://www.addisonsdisease.org.uk/addisons-advice-information
Adrenal hormone excess
Sometimes your adrenal glands can produce too much of certain hormones.
- If you have excessive cortisol production, you may get high blood pressure, low mood, weak muscles and weight gain. This can be caused by a condition called Cushing’s syndrome.
- If too much of the blood pressure hormone aldosterone is produced by the adrenal glands this can cause you to have very high blood pressure. This is called Conn’s syndrome.
- Too much male hormone can be prouiced by tumours of the adrenal glands and this can also cause health effects.
If you are suspected of having any of these problems then you will need to be checked out by a specialist like me.
Incidental Adrenal lumps
If you are found to have fatty lumps in your adrenal glands, they may not affect your hormones at all. These are often found incidentally on scans that you have had for other reasons. In this case they are called incidentalomas. If you are diagnosed with these you will need to be checked out by a specialist like me. However they do not usually need any treatment.
Cancer can affect your adrenal glands. That’s why if you are found to have adrenal lumps, they should always be checked out by a specialist. In this case you may be referred to a hospital team in which several different specialists work together to manage your case. Fortunately adrenal cancer is very rare.
You may have and imbalance affecting your adrenal glands. This can be caused by stress and major life events along with other medical problems. Although adrenal imbalance can cause lots of symptoms is not the same as an adrenal disease. That’s because it is an imbalance which can be corrected without medical treatment and is best managed by lifestyle interventions. See here for more information.
- Hormone Facts & Information