Hypofunction and hyperfunction adrenal cortex are a health problem associated with endocrine disorders.
Adrenal glands are located above the both kidneys and consist of two distinct regions – the core and the cortex. The core produces hormones that regulate the body’s response to stress, namely adrenaline and noradrenaline. The cortex, in turn, is responsible for the production of hormones that affect the blood pressure and blood sugar levels, as well as certain growth and sexual functions. Hormones produced by the cortex are cortisol, aldosterone, and testosterone.
Hormones produced by the adrenal glands are in interaction with those that come from the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, therefore, in the case of the adrenal gland, can appear hypothyroidism or hyperfunction, which results in too low or too high hormone production.
Causes and symptoms of hypofunction and hyperfunction adrenal cortex
Abnormalities in the production of hormones such as cortisol may have many causes. The problem may lie in disorders of the adrenal gland or inadequate amounts released by the pituitary adrenocorticotropic hormone. Among the diseases that can contribute to adrenocortical insufficiency are:
- polyglandular autoimmune syndrome types 1 and 2
- a primary adrenal insufficiency (Addison’s disease)
- a secondary adrenal insufficiency
- congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
The symptoms of adrenocortical insufficiency may include tiredness, weight loss, loss of appetite, weakness, and gastro – intestinal disorders.
Disorders of the adrenal gland that cause hyperfunction most often occur when tumors appear in their region, so that can lead to over-production of various hormones. An example could be a phaeochromocytoma, which occurs rarely and is usually mild, but it contributes to secretion by the adrenal glands excessive amounts of adrenalin and noradrenalin (catecholamines).
The symptoms of hyperfunction of adrenal cortex can include a high blood pressure, excessive sweating, headaches, chest pains and bouts of anxiety.
The reason for the appearance of disorders in the secretion of aldosterone (hyperaldosteronism) is an adenoma or Conn’s syndrome. These can lead to the reduction in levels of potassium in the blood. According to the survey, up to 10% of people struggling with high blood pressure might have an inconspicuous of the adrenal glands disorders.
The adrenal glands disorders, associated with hyperactive of the adrenal cortex production of cortisol, might be revealed in Cushing’s syndrome – a disorder associated with excessive exposure of body tissues to the action of cortisol.
Diagnosing not belongs to invasive procedures and involves taking blood samples from the adrenal gland, which allows determining the activity of the glands. Another way is to ACTH stimulation test, which allows evaluating the reaction of adrenal to cortisol, which gives you the ability to diagnose or exclude primary and secondary adrenal insufficiency, Addison’s disease or other disorders similar to them.
Treatment usually is associated with surgical procedures:
- remove the adrenal tumor, sparing healthy tissue
- laparoscopic – allowing for minimally invasive removal of the adrenal glands.
Among other treatment options is the use of spironolactone and eplerenone – steroids, which are hormone replacement therapy in hypofunction and hyperfunction adrenal cortex .