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Overactive Adrenal Glands / Cushing's Syndrome

What are overactive adrenal glands?

When adrenal glands produce excessive amounts of certain hormones, they are called overactive. Symptoms and treatment depend on which hormones are being overproduced, including the following:

The symptoms of overactive adrenal glands may resemble other problems or medical conditions. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

How are overactive adrenal glands diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for overactive adrenal glands may include:

Treatment of overactive adrenal glands:

Treatment of overactive adrenal glands depends on the cause of the disease. Specific treatment for overactive adrenal glands will be determined by your child's physician based on:

Treatment may include surgical removal of growths on the adrenal gland(s), or the adrenal gland(s) itself. Medications that block the excessive production of certain hormones may also be administered.

What is Cushing's syndrome?

Cushing's syndrome is a myriad of abnormalities that are the result of hypersecretion of corticosteroids by the adrenal cortex. An overproduction of cortisol, the hormone that controls the adrenal gland, by the pituitary gland, which stimulates the adrenal glands to produce corticosteroids, may be one cause. In addition, certain lung cancers and other tumors outside the pituitary gland may produce corticotropins. Other causes include benign (non-cancerous) or cancerous tumors on the adrenal glands. Cushing's syndrome is rare in children and more commonly seen in adults.

What are the symptoms of Cushing's syndrome?

The following are the most common symptoms of Cushing's syndrome. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Children and adolescents with Cushing's syndrome primarily experience weight gain, growth retardation, and hypertension (high blood pressure). Symptoms may include:

The symptoms of Cushing's syndrome may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

How is Cushing's syndrome diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for Cushing's syndrome may include:

Treatment for Cushing's syndrome:

Specific treatment for Cushing's syndrome will be determined by your child's physician based on:

Treatment for Cushing's syndrome depends on its cause. Surgery may be needed to remove tumors of the adrenal glands.

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