Adrenal Glands

The adrenal glands are also called suprarenal glands. These are endocrine glands that lie like caps on top of the kidneys. The suprarenal gland (adrenal gland) is located at the top of each kidney; therefore each person has two suprarenal glands. These glands are critical in creating numerous hormones that are necessary for a healthy life. The suprarenal glands are divided into two parts. The outer portion of the gland is called the adrenal cortex. The adrenal cortex is responsible for creating three different types of hormones: mineralocorticoids which conserve sodium in the body, glucocorticoids which increase blood glucose levels, and gonadocorticoids which regulate sex hormones such as estrogen. Death would result if the adrenal cortex were to stop functioning as it controls metabolic processes that are essential to life. The inner medulla is the inner portion of the suprarenal gland (adrenal gland). This portion secretes epinephrine and norepinephrine in times of stress. There are no significant effects if this portion of the suprarenal gland is not working properly. There are several diseases that may impact the functionality of the suprarenal gland (adrenal gland). Two more common examples are Cushings disease, which is the creation of too much cortisol, and Addison's disease which occurs when not enough cortisol is created. Both may be treated with medications.