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 disease are related to the overproduction of cortisol, and include:

  • A lump of fat between the shoulders (buffalo hump)
  • Diabetes
  • Excess body hair
  • Facial swelling (sometime called moon face)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Obesity
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Weakness (loss of strength)

Common symptoms of pheochromocytoma

Symptoms of pheochromocytoma are related to the overproduction of epinephrine and norepinephrine, such as:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Anxiety
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Heart palpitations
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Pale skin or pallor
  • Tremor
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness (loss of strength)

Common symptoms of Addison’s disease

Addison’s disease occurs when there is damage to the adrenal gland and it is unable to produce enough hormones. Symptoms include:

  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Craving for salt
  • Darkening of the skin
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and decreased appetite
  • Pale skin or pallor
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness (loss of strength)

Common symptoms of hyperaldosteronism

Hyperaldosteronism is related to excess secretion of aldosterone, a hormone that regulates electrolyte levels. Symptoms of hyperaldosteronism include:

  • Changes in mood, personality or behavior
  • Constipation
  • Decreased blood pressure when standing
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Frequent urination
  • Headache
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Weakness (loss of strength)

Symptoms of adrenal gland cancer

Symptoms of adrenal gland cancer can include the symptoms of any of the above disorders, as well as additional symptoms, depending on the part of the adrenal glands affected. Possible symptoms include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Masculinization
  • Thinning and weakening of the bones (osteoporosis)
  • Unexplained weight gain

Symptoms that might indicate a serious condition

In some cases, adrenal gland disorder symptoms can be serious and should be immediately evaluated. Seek immediate medical care if you, or someone you are with, have any of these serious symptoms including:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Extreme weakness (loss of strength)

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 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 pro... Read more about adrenal gland symptomscauses


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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