JONGOH KIM, MD Endocrinologist located in Houston, Tx
LIBU VARUGHESE, MD Endocrinologist located in Houston, Tx

Adrenal gland disorders can affect your entire body as it has an important function in maintaining energy levels, blood pressure, sexual maturation. The disorders pertaining to the adrenal glands are often erroneously diagnosed. This means that it takes an endocrine experts like Jongoh Kim, MD and Libu Varughese, MD  at Endocrine Diabetes Plus Clinic in Houston, Texas to help diagnosis and treat. Treatment are tailored to your needs after performing the right diagnostic tests, and determining the true cause of your symptoms. Please call the offices in Houston, Texas or Memorial City, Texas to schedule a prompt appointment or use the online booking feature. 

Adrenal Disorder Q & A

What hormones are produced by the adrenal glands?

The adrenal glands are very important in that it releases several hormones crucial for health and wellbeing. 

Cortisol

Cortisol regulates your overall metabolism. It has an effect on inflammation, blood pressure, blood glucose, sleep-wake cycle, etc. It is one of the stress hormones that are produced in larger amounts during stressful states. 

Aldosterone

Aldosterone’s primary role is in regulating blood pressure, sodium, and potassium levels. 

DHEA and androgenic steroids

The adrenal gland also produces weak male hormones that are later converted to estrogen in the ovaries and to androgens in the testes. 

Epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine

This is the hormone commonly called adrenaline. This prepares your body for fright, flight, and fight. It works by increasing heart rate, glucose levels. It also boosts blood flow to muscles and brain. 

What is adrenal insufficiency?

Adrenal Insufficiency is the state where your adrenal gland is unable to produce its hormones, which can cause devastating consequences. Addison’s disease is the same but due to an autoimmune disorder. This is also dramatically different by Adrenal fatigue, which is not established by the endocrine society.

When you do not have enough cortisol, then you can develop the following symptoms:

  • Excessive fatigue
  • low appetite
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • abdominal pain
  • muscle or joint pain
  • depressed mood
  • sexual dysfunction in women
  • loss of body hair

Those with primary adrenal insufficiency such as Addison’s, will experience a salt craving, dehydration, drop in blood pressure, and darkening of the skin. 

What other adrenal disorders might I develop?

The endocrine system is interconnected. Adrenal gland disorders can occur due to a disease in the adrenal glands, or the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland sends the signal to the adrenal gland for it to be activated.
 

Overactive adrenal gland

 
An overactive adrenal gland can lead to adrenal nodule which is found on a CT or MRI. These overactive adrenal nodules can produce excess hormones. They also can be benign or cancerous.
 

Cushing syndrome

 
Cushing syndrome is when the adrenal gland produces too much cortisol leading to weight gain and fatty deposits all over the body. It has detrimental consequences and therefore should be evaluated thoroughly.

 

Hyperaldosteronism

 
Hyperaldosteronism is when the adrenal gland overproduces the aldosterone hormone. As a result, blood pressure increases, and potassium levels drop.

 

Pheochromocytoma

 
Pheochromocytoma is an adrenal gland tumor that causes increased production of adrenaline or noradrenaline. This can lead to experiencing spikes in blood pressure, headache, anxiety, heart palpitations,
 

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia

 
This is a genetic disorder in the enzymes that produce the hormones. It often leads to low cortisol and low aldosterone levels while increasing androgen levels. Excessive androgens can lead to male characteristics in girls and early puberty in boys. It can go undiagnosed for many years if pt does not have major symptoms.
 

Adrenal cancer

 
Adrenal cancers are rare and are spread to other organs before they are detected. These tumors can cause any of the above disorders as it can cause excessive production of the adrenal hormones.
 
 
If you’ve become fatigued or show any of the other symptoms of an adrenal disorder, call Endocrine & Diabetes Plus Clinic of Houston or book an appointment online.