Adrenal disorders are basically the conditions that interfere with the normal functioning of the adrenal glands. These disorders can cause hyperfunction or hypofunction of the gland and are either congenital or acquired.
There are basically two parts of the adrenal glands i.e. the adrenal cortex and the adrenal medulla. This gland produces enzymes that regulate salt and water balance within the body, that affect growth and stress and also secretes androgens. There are various conditions caused by adrenal disorders like:
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) basically refers to a group of disorders that arise from defective steroidogenesis. This adrenal disorder results in the deficiency of cortisol. When there is impaired cortisol synthesis, it leads to elevation of ACTH through the negative feedback system. Further, this causes overstimulation of the adrenal cortex thereby resulting in hyperplasia.
The impaired enzyme function at each step of the adrenal cortisol biosynthesis basically leads to a unique combination of elevated precursors and deficient products.
Cushing’s syndrome also termed as hypercortisolism is a condition in which the body produces too much or excess of the hormone cortisol. In most of the cases, this syndrome is caused by an abnormality in the adrenal or pituitary glands.
Cortisol is considered to help your child’s body respond to an illness or injury. It further helps in stabilizing blood pressure and blood sugar levels. In case the body produces too much cortisol, it slows down a child’s growth, disrupts puberty, causes obesity and mood swings.
Virilizing and Feminizing Adrenal Tumours
Feminizing adrenal tumours are considered as extremely rare tumours that are prevalent in males. Clinical features are gynecomastia or other hypogonadism features. They are quite rare in the pediatric population. While in women it can causes early menstruation, uterus hypertrophy, high blood pressure, etc.
Virilising adrenal tumours cause male pattern of hair distribution, masculine voice and acne in females and early signs of puberty in males.