Pediatric adrenal disorders are diseased or malfunctioning adrenal glands that are located at the top of the kidneys. The adrenal glands produce hormones like cortisol and aldosterone that manage blood-sugar levels and regulate the balance of minerals in the body like sodium and potassium. The adrenal glands also control the body’s response to stress by regulating adrenaline output, blood pressure and cardiovascular function. Finally, adrenal glands are key to normal sexual maturity through puberty.
The disorders, if present at birth, are known as a congenital disorder but when it occurs after birth, it is known as an acquired disorder. Adrenal disorders fall into two categories; adrenal glands that produce either too much or too little of the necessary hormones.
The most common adrenal disorders in children include the following:
The symptoms of pediatric adrenal disorders will vary based on the type of disorder and the age of the child. Common symptoms include:
There are several known causes of adrenal disorders including autoimmunity, which is a condition where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks itself. Bleeding, infections or the spread of cancer to the adrenal glands can also cause adrenal disorders.
When a child is experiencing these symptoms, blood and urine samples may be taken to look for and identify abnormal hormone levels. If abnormal growths are suspected, CT Scans or MRIs are typically ordered to identify them.
The treatments for pediatric adrenal disorders may include medication and/or surgery in the case of tumor related conditions.
If your child isn’t feeling well and experiencing these symptoms, call Dr. Joshua Smith for an appointment or fill out the form below. Dr. Smith is the region’s only specialist in pediatric endocrinology and is specifically trained to treat adrenal disorders.