On top of each kidney is an adrenal gland. These glands are responsible for secreting 30 steroid hormones into the blood. These hormones include:
- Aldosterone, which regulates the water and salt balance in the body
- Cortisol, which regulates the body's metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The release of this hormone is controlled by the pituitary gland.
- Adrenaline (epinephrine) and norepinephrine. These hormones are released when we are excited or afraid. They cause the heart to beat faster, more blood to flow to the muscles, blood sugar to increase and other changes that enable us to respond to a sudden emergency.
- Hormones that help reduce inflammation and reactions to allergies
- Hormones that influence secondary sex characteristics that make men different from women
Treating Adrenal Tumors
Because of the important role played by the adrenal glands, adrenal tumors can be very serious.
At the Minimally Invasive Urology Program, adrenal tumors are treated using the latest in minimally invasive techniques.