Corticosteroids help the body respond to stress. Elevated levels of these hormones are often found in pregnant women, athletes, and people suffering from depression, alcoholism, malnutrition, and panic disorders.
When adrenal glands produce excessive amounts of certain hormones, they are called "overactive." Symptoms and treatment depend on which hormones are being overproduced:
The symptoms of overactive adrenal glands may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history and medical examination, diagnostic procedures for overactive adrenal glands may include:
Treatment of overactive adrenal glands depends on the cause of the disease. Specific treatment for overactive adrenal glands will be determined by your doctor based on:
Treatment may include surgical removal of growths or the adrenal gland(s) itself. Certain drugs that block the excessive production of certain hormones may also be administered.
Cushing's syndrome is the result of the excessive production of corticosteroids by the adrenal glands. An overproduction of corticotropin—the hormone that controls the adrenal gland—by the pituitary gland, which stimulates the adrenal glands to produce corticosteroids, may be one cause. In addition, certain lung cancers and other tumors outside the pituitary gland may produce corticotropins. Other causes include benign or cancerous tumors on the adrenal glands.
The following are the most common symptoms of Cushing's syndrome. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of Cushing's syndrome may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history and medical examination, diagnostic procedures for Cushing's syndrome may include:
Treatment for Cushing's syndrome depends on its cause. Surgery may be needed to remove tumors or the adrenal glands. Other treatment may include radiation, chemotherapy, and use of certain hormone-inhibiting drugs.
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