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Adrenal Disease

The adrenal glands are endocrine glands, which are located on the top of both kidneys.

The adrenal glands are triangular shaped and measure about 4cm in height and 8cm in length. Each gland consists of a medulla (middle), which is surrounded by the cortex. The medulla is responsible for producing epinephrine and norepinephrine (adrenaline). The adrenal cortex produces other hormones necessary for fluid and electrolyte (salt) balance in the body such as cortisone and aldosterone. The adrenal cortex also makes sex hormones but this only becomes important if overproduction is present.

Adrenal tumours

Adrenal tumours can either be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Tumours of the adrenal glands arise from the cortex or the medulla part of the adrenal gland. Adrenal tumours commonly present because symptoms from excess secretion of hormones by the tumour. The tumours from the adrenal cortex produce excess secretion of steroid hormones and aldosterone and tumours from the adrenal medulla produce excessive amounts of catecholamines.