The adrenal gland are small,triangular shaped glands on top of the kidneys.They produce hormones that regulate the body's metabolism, immune system, blood pressure,stress response and other body processes.These glands have two major parts the medulla which is the inner part of the gland and produces the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline,the cortex which is the outer part of the gland produces the hormones cortisol and aldosterone.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone and it enhances the brain's use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.Aldosterone is essential for sodium conservation in the kidneys,salivary glands, sweat glands and the colon.Adrenaline-this hormone serves as a chemical mediator and also conveys nerve impulses to various organs.Noradrenaline is the main neurotransmitter of the sympathetic nerves in the cardiovascular system.
Some conditions that affect the adrenal glands are
*Cushing's syndrome-occurs because of exposure to high levels of cortisol for a long time.
*Adrenal gland suppression-deacrease in the levels of cortisol production.
*Virilization-it is a condition whereby a female adopts characteristics associated with male hormones.
Addison's disease which is a disorder whereby the adrenal glands don't produce enough hormones.Too little cortisol and sometimes aldosterone are produced.This disease occurs in both sexes and all age groups and can be life threatening.
Extreme fatigue,weight loss and deacresed appetite,salt craving,nausea vomiting and diarrhoea,darkening of the skin, irritability,abdominal pain,body hair loss,low blood pressure are some symptoms of this condition.
An addisonian crisis is a life threatening condition that results in low blood pressure,low levels of blood sugar and high levels of potassium and is most common in persons with other autoimmune diseases.
This condition can be triggered by traumatic events like car accidents,injuries leading to shock,severe dehydration,severe infection.
An addisonian crisis is a medical emergency. This condition can cause symptoms such as severe weakness,confusion,severe abdominal pain,vomiting and diarrhoea,delirium,low blood pressure and high potassium and low sodium levels.
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