Suprarenal gland (adrenal gland)

Medically reviewed by Healthline Medical Team on December 12, 2014

The suprarenal gland (adrenal gland) is located at the top of each kidney; therefore each person has two suprarenal glands. The suprarenal glands are divided into two parts.

The outer portion of the gland is called the adrenal cortex. The adrenal cortex is responsible for creating three different types of hormones: mineralocorticoids which conserve sodium in the body, glucocorticoids which increase blood glucose levels, and gonadocorticoids which regulate sex hormones such as estrogen. Death would result if the adrenal cortex were to stop functioning as it controls metabolic processes that are essential to life.

The adrenal medulla is the inner portion of the suprarenal gland (adrenal gland). This portion secretes epinephrine and norepinephrine in times of stress. There are several diseases that may impact the functionality of the suprarenal gland (adrenal gland). Two notable examples are Cushing disease, which is the creation of too much cortisol, and Addison's disease which occurs when not enough cortisol is created. Both may be treated with medications.

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