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Your body has 2 adrenal glands. They are found on top of each kidney. The adrenal glands make certain types of hormones. If they make too much of (overproduce) these hormones, they are called overactive.
Your adrenal glands may start to make too many hormones on their own for unknown reasons. They can also become too active if your pituitary gland makes too much of the hormone ACTH (adrenocorticotropin).
Some people who take high doses of steroid medicines for a long time will also show signs of excess adrenal hormone effect.
Symptoms depend on which hormones are being overproduced:
These symptoms may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Your healthcare provider will ask about your medical history. You will also need a physical exam. Your provider may also see if you have any signs of Cushing's syndrome, a condition that can occur if your body makes too much cortisol hormone. People with this condition have symptoms that include easy bruising, muscle weakness, and red or purple stretch marks. Upper body obesity and thin arms and legs are also common.
Other tests that may help with a diagnosis include:
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment for you based on:
Treatment depends on what is causing the disease. You may need to have your adrenal glands removed. If external steroid use is the cause, you may need to slowly cut back or stop taking the steroid. You may also need to take medicine that blocks the production of certain hormones.
Tell your healthcare provider if your symptoms return or get worse. Also let your provider know if you have new symptoms.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
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