The adrenal gland is responsible for making hormones that control blood pressure and help during physically stressful circumstances. Health problems including hypertension develop when excessive amounts of these hormones are produced. The outer portions of the adrenal gland make stress hormones, such as cortisol, a form of steroid, and aldosterone, a hormone responsible for retaining salt. The inner portion makes adrenalin. Too much of any of these can result in long-term debilitating disease. Disorders of blood pressure may be seen with abnormal adrenal gland function.
Evaluation of adrenal disease involves testing for imbalance of the hormones and imaging of the adrenal glands. The adrenal gland hormones, when deficient, are easily replaced.
Patients may be referred to an endocrinologist when diagnostic imaging of the abdomen reveals the presence of a growth on the adrenal gland. Further testing is performed to establish the size of the gland and what, if any, hormones are being made in excess. Surgical treatment is based on the size, growth and hormone production of the adrenal lesion.