Some adrenal gland conditions can cause high blood pressure with serious, potentially severe complications.
Adrenal glands are an essential part of how a person’s body regulates blood pressure, metabolism, and immune responses. Conditions that affect adrenal gland function can significantly affect this regulation. One potential complication of adrenal dysfunction is high blood pressure, or hypertension.
This article addresses how adrenal gland function can affect blood pressure.
A person’s adrenal glands are small triangle-shaped glands at the tops of their kidneys. They form part of the endocrine system, producing
Learn more about hormones and the effect of hormonal imbalances.
Adrenal glands produce several hormones that affect and control a person’s blood pressure:
- adrenaline, or epinephrine
- noradrenaline, or norepinephrine
People can develop hypertension if their adrenal glands overproduce one or more of these hormones.
- Primary aldosteronism (PA): People also call this Conn’s syndrome. PA is a condition where a person’s adrenal glands
producetoo much aldosterone, and this can cause them to develop hypertension.
- Pheochromocytoma: This is a rare tumor that develops in a person’s adrenal gland. It leads to an overproduction of certain neurohormones, including adrenaline and noradrenaline.
- Cushing’s syndrome: If a person’s adrenal glands produce too much cortisol, they may develop Cushing’s syndrome, or hypercortisolism. This can cause a person to have hypertension and other symptoms.
The following risk factors can
- having obesity or being overweight
- overconsuming alcohol
- chronic stress
- a diet high in fat or salt
- a diet low in fiber or potassium
- physical inactivity
- genetic history of hypertension
People also tend to have higher blood pressure as they age.
People with hypertension may not experience clear signs or symptoms, but the condition can lead to severe complications without adequate treatment. As a result, those with risk factors for hypertension need to receive regular checkups to diagnose the condition should it occur.
Without treatment, the condition can lead to severe or fatal health
- heart disease
- heart attack
- peripheral vascular disease
- angina, or chest pain
- heart failure
- kidney disease
- vision problems
The only way to know if a person has hypertension is to measure their blood pressure. Doctors will diagnose the condition by
Doctors measure blood pressure by millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) using two numbers. The American Heart Association (AHA) defines hypertension as
The first number refers to a person’s systolic pressure, which measures the pressure on their arteries as their heart beats. The second number measures their diastolic pressure, which is the resting pressure in the arteries between heartbeats.
People should also call for emergency treatment if they experience severe symptoms, such as:
- shortness of breath
- visual disturbances or difficulty seeing
- chest pains
- back pain
- difficulty speaking
- numbness or weakness
A combination of medications and lifestyle changes can often help a person manage hypertension.
Doctors can prescribe medications to manage hypertension. These include:
- angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors
- angiotensin-2 receptor blockers
- calcium channel blockers
Learn more about medications for hypertension.
People with hypertension can often
- quitting smoking, if applicable
- managing stress levels, where possible
- engaging in regular physical activity
- eating a diet low in salt
- limiting alcohol intake
- maintaining a moderate weight
A person’s adrenal glands are essential for regulating blood pressure. High blood pressure, or hypertension, often does not cause someone any symptoms. However, it can lead to serious health problems without treatment for management.
Certain adrenal gland conditions can cause a person to develop hypertension. Doctors can typically treat these conditions, allowing people to lower their blood pressure and avoid hypertension.