The adrenal glands are glands which are located just above the kidneys.
These glands perform a multitude of hormonal functions; they produce adrenaline, they produce glucocorticoids (steroids), and mineralocorticoids (more steroids!)
Adrenaline is required to assist the body in responding to stress- the 'fight and flight' response.
Glucocorticoids are required to assist the body in regulating glucose levels , to allow the adrenaline to function appropriately and in a multitude of other functions.
Mineralocorticoids are important in the regulation of the chemical composition of the blood stream; the amount of sodium and potassium circulating.
Problems can come to light as a consequence of a lack of, or an excess of, any of these hormones.
The glands can be found to be enlarged during investigation of the abdomen and further investigation may be thought necessary.
When the glands are found to be enlarged, an array of blood and urine tests may be required.
If there is concern about an excess or lack of hormone, then both scans and chemical investigations are required. The chemical tests will need both blood and urine tests.
The Society for Endocrinology - Patient Information
Addison's Disease Self Help Group