Spotlight On Adrenal Disorders
Adrenal disorders are a complex set of disorders, and they’re rather uncommon, which makes them even less understood by the general public. Here at Lauren’s Hope, though, we hear from customers regularly who need medical ID jewelry for a number of adrenal disorders:
- Adrenal Insufficiency and Addison’s Disease: With adrenal insufficiency, the adrenal glands, which are located on top of each kidney, produce too little of the three hormones for which they are responsible (glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, and androgens). There are three types of adrenal insufficiency, and they are primary adrenal insufficiency (also called Addison’s Disease), secondary adrenal insufficiency, and tertiary adrenal insufficiency. In all three cases, there is a risk of adrenal crisis, which is a life-threatening emergency requiring an emergency injection of glucocorticoid and immediate medical attention.
- Cushing’s Syndrome: Cushing’s Syndrome is an adrenal disorder associated with extremely high cortisol levels. It is a serious disease, and it can lead to the even more rare diagnosis of Cushing’s Disease. Sometimes, people develop Addison’s as a result of their Cushing’s Syndrome treatment, but as Cushing’s Syndrome has a 50% five-year survival rate, dealing with the long-term impact of Addison’s is considered the lesser of the two evils.
- Pheochromocytoma: This rare tumor grows on the adrenal gland and causes overproduction of norepinephrine and epinephrine, which are hormones responsible for essential body regulations such as heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism.
- Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia: These genetic adrenal gland disorders cause people to lack the enzyme adrenal glands need in order to produce cortisol and aldosterone. Additionally, people with congenital adrenal hyperplasia overproduce androgen, which is a male hormone that, in excess, causes male sexual characteristics to develop earlier than usual or inappropriately (e.g.: in girls).
- Hyperaldosteronism: When people produce too much aldosterone, as is the case with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, the condition is called hyperaldosteronism, aldosteronism, Conn’s Disease, or Conn’s Syndrome. This condition can cause decreased blood potassium levels, and that is called hypokalemia.