What causes adrenal gland disorders?

In many cases of hormone excess, adrenal gland disorders arise from either a benign growth or tumor of the adrenal glands. These conditions are not hereditary, and in many cases, the cause of the tumor or growth is not known. Specific adrenal gland disorders can result from various causes including:

Causes of Cushing’s syndrome

Cortisol overproduction can arise from problems with the pituitary gland (which produces adrenal gland stimulating hormones) or the adrenal glands themselves, such as:

  • Adrenal gland tumor
  • Pituitary gland tumor
  • Steroid use
  • Tumors of other endocrine glands or other parts of the body

Causes of pheochromocytoma

Pheochromocytoma is very rare, and generally occurs due to a benign tumor or growth in the medulla, or core, of the adrenal glands.

Causes of hyperaldosteronism

Hyperaldosteronism symptoms result from the overproduction of the hormone aldosterone, generally due to hyperplasia (or excess growth) in the adrenal glands. It can also result from a benign tumor.

Causes of Addison’s disease

Addison’s disease results from an insufficiency of hormone production by the adrenal gland. It occurs when the gland is damaged or dysfunctional. Causes include:

  • Autoimmune disease
  • Infections, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and tuberculosis
  • Severe bleeding
  • Tumors

What are the risk factors for adrenal gland disorders?

The risk factors for developing adrenal gland tumors and growths are often not known, but may include steroid abuse and family or personal history of endocrine disorders. The development of adrenal gland disorders is heavily dependent on the part of the adrenal glands affected. People with autoimmune disorders are at an increased risk for autoimmune disorders of the adrenal glands.


What are the signs of adrenal gland problems?

Adrenal gland symptoms are related to the production of too many or too few hormones by the adrenal glands, which are hormone-producing organs located near the tops of both kidneys. Hormones from the adrenal glands are responsible for many functions. For example, adrenaline controls the body’s fight-or-flight responses, while male sex hormones, such as androgens, control parts of human developm... Read more about adrenal gland symptomsintroduction


What are the symptoms of adrenal gland disorders?

Symptoms of adrenal gland disorders are dependent on the part of the adrenal glands affected and the hormones produced. In many cases, mild hormone overproduction will not lead to symptoms. Symptoms can fall into a variety of categories, such as:

Common symptoms of Cushing’s disease

The symptoms of Cushing’s di... Read more about adrenal gland symptomssymptoms


How are adrenal gland disorders treated?

In mild cases, adrenal gland disorders may require no treatment. When high blood pressure or diabetes arises from adrenal gland disorders, medication to control these conditions may be administered. In severe cases, the tumor or growth leading to adrenal gland malfunction may be surgically removed. In cases of adrenal ca... Read more about adrenal gland symptomstreatments

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Jul 29, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Kidneys and the Urinary System

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