Adrenal glands

The adrenal glands are located in the abdomen near the kidneys and produce adrenal hormone. Adrenal disorders may include Adrenal insufficiency, Adrenal fatigue (controversial), Adrenal Diseases such as Addison’s Disease, and Adrenal Cancer. Read more about: Adrenal Disorders, Adrenal Insufficiency

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What are the adrenal glands?

silhouette of a person, with kidneys illustrated in their location in the body, and a close-up with labels of the kidneys and adrenal glandsThe adrenal glands, located on the top of each kidney, are responsible for releasing different classes of hormones.

The outer part of the gland, called the adrenal cortex, produces the hormones cortisol (pronounced KAWR-tuh-sohl) and aldosterone (pronounced al-DOS-tuh-rohn). The inner part of the gland, called the adrenal medulla (pronounced muh-DUHL-uh), produces the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline.

These hormones control many important functions in the body, including1:

  • Maintaining metabolic processes, such as managing blood sugar levels and regulating inflammation
  • Regulating the balance of salt and water
  • Controlling the "fight or flight" response to stress
  • Maintaining pregnancy
  • Initiating and controlling sexual maturation during childhood and puberty

The adrenal glands are also an important source of sex steroids, such as estrogen and testosterone.

Source: NICHD (NIH)1

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Adrenal Glands: A pair of glands located at the cranial pole of each of the two Kidneys. Each adrenal gland is composed of two distinct endocrine tissues with separate embryonic origins, the Adrenal Cortex producing Steroids and the Adrenal Medulla producing Neurotransmitters.2


Types may include:3

Types of Adrenal Gland:

  • Left Adrenal Gland
  • Right Adrenal Gland

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  1. Source: NICHD (NIH): health/ topics/ adrenalgland/ conditioninfo/ Pages/ default.aspx
  2. Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  3. Source: NCI Thesaurus
  4. Source: NIDDK (NIH): health-information/ endocrine-diseases/ adrenal-insufficiency-addisons-disease

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