Adrenal Diseases

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Adrenal Diseases

Adrenal diseases can cause the adrenal glands to produce too much or not enough hormones, including sex hormones and cortisol. These adrenal diseases can cause a variety of symptoms that range from mild to life-threatening. Destruction of the adrenal gland due to an auto-immune response is one cause of adrenal disease. Cancer, infection or other conditions may also lead to adrenal diseases.

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Other causes include:

  • The use of corticosteroids as a treatment (such as prednisone). This treatment method can cause a slowdown in production of natural corticosteroids by the adrenal glands, resulting in adrenal disease symptoms.
  • Certain drugs used to treat fungal infections may block production of corticosteroids in the adrenal glands.


Diseases that cause an overproduction of hormones from the adrenal glands have a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Exaggerated male characteristics in both men and women, such as increased facial and body hair, baldness, acne, deeper voice and increased masculinity
  • High blood pressure
  • Symptoms associated with low levels of potassium (i.e., weakness, muscle aches, spasms and possible paralysis)
  • Upper body obesity
  • Round face
  • Increased fat around the neck
  • Thinning of the arms and legs
  • Fragile and thinning skin
  • Stretch marks on the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, arms and breasts
  • Bone and muscle weakness
  • Severe fatigue
  • High blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
  • Irritability and anxiety
  • Excess hair growth in women
  • Irregular or stopped menstrual cycles in women
  • Reduced male sex drive
  • Reduced male fertility