Some adrenal gland conditions can cause high blood pressure with serious, potentially severe complications. These can include heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.

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.

Almost half of all adults in the United States have hypertension. In 2020, the condition caused or contributed to more than 670,000 deaths in the U.S.

This article addresses how adrenal gland function can affect blood pressure.

A medical professional taking a patient's blood pressure in a clinical settingShare on Pinterest
PER Images/Stocksy

A person’s adrenal glands are small triangle-shaped glands at the tops of their kidneys. They form part of the endocrine system, producing hormones that regulate a person’s:

Learn more about hormones and the effect of hormonal imbalances.

Adrenal glands produce several hormones that affect and control a person’s blood pressure:

  • cortisol
  • aldosterone
  • adrenaline, or epinephrine
  • noradrenaline, or norepinephrine

People can develop hypertension if their adrenal glands overproduce one or more of these hormones.

Several conditions can cause people’s adrenal glands to overproduce hormones, including:

  • Primary aldosteronism (PA): People also call this Conn’s syndrome. PA is a condition where a person’s adrenal glands produce too 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 increase a person’s risk of developing 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 problems, such as:

Diagnosing hypertension

The only way to know if a person has hypertension is to measure their blood pressure. Doctors will diagnose the condition by ruling out other causes.

Doctors measure blood pressure by millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) using two numbers. The American Heart Association (AHA) defines hypertension as 140/90 mm HG or higher.

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:

Learn more about blood pressure ranges.

A combination of medications and lifestyle changes can often help a person manage hypertension.


Doctors can prescribe medications to manage hypertension. These include:

Learn more about medications for hypertension.

Lifestyle changes

People with hypertension can often manage their condition by making lifestyle changes. A person can lower their blood pressure to typical ranges by:

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.