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What is an adrenal gland?

 Adrenal glands are 2 triangular shaped glands that rest just above your kidneys. They are made up of 3 layers. Each layer produces a specific group of hormones. These groups of hormones are either categorized as salt, sugar, or sex hormones.


What is cortisol?

Cortisol is classically known as a salt hormone. It has many special jobs such as controlling blood pressure, reducing inflammation and regulating salt levels in your body. When you are sick or under stress, cortisol should be high in order to allow your body to keep normal blood pressure. When people have inappropriately high levels or low levels or cortisol they are said to have an adrenal disorder.


What is Cushing’s Disease/Disorder?

These are a group of diseases when someone has inappropriately high levels of cortisol. The diagnosis can be hard to make and may require extensive testing. The cause of Cushings can vary, but the 2 most common causes are a disorder of the adrenal gland(s) or pituitary gland.

How is Cushing’s Disease/Disorder treated?

The treatment for excess cortisol will depend on the cause of the abnormally high cortisol. The usual treatment generally does require surgery by an experienced Endocrine Surgeon at a specialized center. After surgery patients often will require long term monitoring and some will require lifelong medications. Some patients can develop Addison’s Disease. It is important to follow closely with your surgeon and Endocrinologist.


What is Addison’s Disease?

Addison’s disease is the opposite of Cushing’s disease. This is a disorder when someone does not have enough cortisol in their body. There are many causes of Addison’s disease, like autoimmune disorders, surgery, medications, or pituitary surgery.


What is an adrenal crisis?

When patients with Addison’s disease become sick or severely stressed, they are not able to make the proper amount of cortisol and become ill. Usually the first sign is a headache with a hollow achy stomach sensation. When it progresses, patients often feel weakness, nausea and vomiting. Without treatment patients can have very low blood pressure and require hospitalization.


How do I manage my stress days?

Most patients with adrenal insufficiency are sent home with an emergency and sick day plan. Please consult your doctor to learn more.

If you suffer from adrenal problems, Dr. Silva offers the help you need through telehealth services, as well as 24/7 access to her cell phone for established concierge patients. You can easily schedule an appointment at your convenience using the online booking tool. 



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