Pharmacology Teaching and Research

Online Lecture: Endocrine System

Drugs Affecting the Endocrine System - Adrenal Glands

A person has two adrenal glands.
These glands are located on top of each of your kidneys.
They’re part of your endocrine system, a collection of glands that produce hormones.
While they’re small in size, your adrenal glands are responsible for numerous hormone-related functions in your body.
As a result, disorders that affect your adrenal glands can have a broad impact on your health.
Each adrenal gland contains an outer adrenal cortex.
It’s responsible for producing certain steroid hormones, including aldosterone and cortisol.
Each gland also contains an inner adrenal medulla, which produces several other hormones, including adrenaline and noradrenaline.
Aldosterone helps control your blood pressure by managing the balance of potassium and sodium in your body.
Cortisol works in conjunction with adrenaline and noradrenaline to help regulate your reaction to stress.
Cortisol also helps regulate your metabolism, sugar levels, and blood pressure.


Symptoms of adrenal gland disorders may include:


  • dizziness
  • excessive fatigue
  • sweating
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • increased salt cravings
  • low blood sugar
  • low blood pressure, also known as hypotension
  • irregular periods
  • dark patches on your skin
  • muscle and joint pain
  • weight gain or loss.


 Adrenal gland disorders could be treated with hormone replacement therapy in case of a low adrenal function, such as that caused by Addison’s disease.

Radiation treatment is an option if the glands are producing too much of a hormone.

Click below for a Presentation - Adrenal Glands.