Adrenal disorders can occur when the adrenal glands either produce excessive or inadequate amounts of hormones. These conditions include adrenal insufficiency, Cushing's syndrome, and pheochromocytoma. If left untreated, these disorders can cause health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Fortunately, they usually can be treated successfully.
The adrenal glands, located above the kidneys, secrete hormones essential for the body's normal processes. The center of the gland is called the adrenal medulla, which secretes hormones such as epinephrine, also called adrenaline, that affect heart rate, blood pressure and sweating. The adrenal cortex is the outer layer of the adrenal gland and produces hormones such as cortisol and aldosterone that control blood pressure, levels of salt and potassium in the body as well as the body's use of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. The adrenal cortex also produces some male sex hormones, such as testosterone.