Adrenal glands, located on top of the kidneys, produce various hormones. Adrenal insufficiency occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce sufficient amounts of steroid hormones — primarily cortisol, which regulates sodium conservation, potassium secretion, and water retention.
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is a group of inherited genetic disorders that affect the adrenal glands. A person with CAH lacks one of the enzymes the adrenal glands use to produce hormones that help regulate metabolism, the immune system, blood pressure, and other essential functions.
Hyperaldosteronism is a disease where the adrenal glands make too much aldosterone, a hormone that stimulates absorption of sodium by the kidneys and helps to regulate water and salt balance in the body. When too much aldosterone is produced, this leads to hypertension (high blood pressure) and low blood potassium levels.
Osteoporosis is the deterioration of bone tissue and reduction of bone strength, making bones fragile. Osteoporosis makes the wrist, hip, spine and other parts of the skeleton vulnerable to fractures. Falls in people with osteoporosis can lead to serious health consequences.
Pituitary tumors are abnormal growths that develop in your pituitary gland. Some pituitary tumors result in too many of the hormones that regulate important functions of the body; others can cause the pituitary gland to produce lower levels of hormones. Most pituitary tumors are noncancerous (benign) growths (adenomas). Adenomas remain in your pituitary gland or surrounding tissues and don’t spread to other parts of your body.
The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland that is located in the front of the neck. This gland produces thyroid hormones that primarily influence the body’s metabolism and protein synthesis. Abnormal cell growth in the thyroid gland can lead to thyroid cancer. The thyroid also can be affected by a variety of diseases, including:
Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid gland, and the thyroid gland can’t make enough thyroid hormone to keep the body running normally. Individuals are hypothyroid if they have too little thyroid hormone in the blood. Common causes are autoimmune disease, surgical removal of the thyroid, and radiation treatment.
Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland is overactive and makes excessive amounts of thyroid hormone. When the thyroid gland is overactive, the body’s processes speed up, and individuals may experience nervousness, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, hand tremors, excessive sweating, weight loss, and sleep problems, among other symptoms.