Organ: Adrenal glands

Adrenal glands: Pair of glands on each kidney
Introduction: Cortisol is normally produced by the adrenal glands, located just above the kidneys. It belongs to a class of hormones called glucocorticoids, which affect almost every organ and tissue in the body. Scientists think that cortisol has possibly hundreds of effects in the body. Cortisol's most important job is to help the body respond to stress. Among its other vital tasks, cortisol:

  • helps maintain blood pressure and cardiovascular function;
  • helps slow the immune system's inflammatory response;
  • helps balance the effects of insulin in breaking down sugar for energy; and
  • helps regulate the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

Because cortisol is so vital to health, the amount of cortisol produced by the adrenals is precisely balanced. Like many other hormones, cortisol is regulated by the brain's hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, a bean-sized organ at the base of the brain. 1

Condition count: 12 ; see list below.
Organ types: Glands (79), Endocrine system (90), Hormonal system (90)
Produces: adrenalin, noradrenalin, aldosterone, mineralocorticoid hormones, glucocorticoid hormones
Number: 2 adrenal glands
Related organs: kidneys (53), potassium metabolism (2), sodium metabolism, glucose metabolism
Main condition: Adrenal disorders
Organs: all organs

Diseases list: The following list of medical conditions have 'Adrenal glands' or similar listed as an affected body part in our database:


  • Addison's Disease ... adrenal glands
  • Addisonian crisis ... adrenal glands
  • Adrenal Cancer ... adrenal
  • Adrenal disorders ... adrenal
  • Adrenal insufficiency ... adrenal gland


  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia ... adrenal
  • Cushing's syndrome ... adrenal glands


  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia ... adrenal glands
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 ... adrenal gland
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 3 ... adrenal gland


  • Neuroblastoma ... adrenal


  • Pheochromocytoma ... adrenal gland

    1. excerpt from Addison's Disease: NIDDK

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