Adrenal Gland Disorders - Condition and Symptoms
In humans, the adrenal glands sit right at the top of the kidneys. The main function of these glands is to produce a number of hormones that regulate a multitude of body functions. Some of these hormones include:
- Cortisol- Used by the body to regulate blood pressure, regulates metabolism of glucose, regulates the release of insulin, Epinephrine and Norepinephrine (also known as adrenaline and noradrenaline), part of the body’s “fight or flight” response, these hormones cause a sudden increase in blood pressure, heart rate and nervous system acuity.
- Aldosterone- Helps to regulate electrolyte levels in the blood.
- Androgens- A group of hormones (including testosterone) that control development and maintenance of male sex characteristics, including secondary sex characteristics such as facial hair and muscle growth.
Keep in mind that this is just a brief overview of these hormones. The balance of these hormones is very delicate. When any of these hormones are over or under-produced, a multitude of potential problems may arise. Among these problems are:
- Addison’s Disease- The result of too little cortisol and often too little aldosterone. Symptoms may include darkening of the skin, weight loss, muscle fatigue, loss of appetite, low blood pressure, depression, nausea, diarrhea, and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
- Cushing’s Syndrome- Caused by excess cortisol over a long period of time. Symptoms may include weight gain, fatty deposits in the upper torso, especially between the shoulders, pink or purple stretch marks on the skin, thinning of the skin, easy bruising, skin wounds which heal slowly, and acne. Also, women may notice an increase in facial hair and irregular or no menstrual periods. Men may experience erectile dysfunction, loss of sexual desire, or decreased fertility. Other symptoms may include depression, fatigue, headache, bone loss, high blood pressure, and cognitive problems.
- Hyperaldosteronism- Caused to excessive production of aldosterone. Symptoms may include mood changes, constipation, headache, high blood pressure, fatigue, and weakness.
- Pheochromocytoma- Caused by excess epinephrine and norepinephrine. Symptoms include anxiety, abdominal pain, headache, fatigue, heart palpitations, weight loss, weakness, and excessive perspiration.
There are a multitude of other problems which can result from Adrenal Gland Disorders. In general, adrenal problems can result in blood pressure irregularities, bone loss (also known as osteoporosis), weakness, weight gain or weight loss, extreme fatigue, diabetes, or masculinization.
Because these disorders can affect so many different organs and organ systems, there is a variety of complications that can arise. Some of these may include bone disorders, loss of the ability to walk, heart problems including arrhythmia and heart failure, and mental problems.
Because of the vast range of potential adrenal gland disorders, the variety of treatment options is equally vast, depending of course upon the nature of the disorder. In the case of hormonal deficiencies, hormonal supplements may be an option. In the case of more serious problems with the adrenal glands, surgery may be necessary.
Filing for Social Security Disability with an Adrenal Gland Disorder diagnosis
Adrenal Gland Disorders are listed in the Social Security Administration’s impairment listing manual (commonly called the “Blue Book”) as conditions that may qualify a person to receive Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. In the section detailing disorders of the Endocrine System, the SSA spells out the criteria under which disability benefits may be warranted. In the case of Adrenal Gland Disorders, these criteria are evaluated under the complications caused by the specific disorder. For example, if the particular Adrenal Gland Disorder results in osteoporosis and ensuing bone fractures or loss of mobility, the disability would be evaluated using criteria for the musculoskeletal system. If the Adrenal Gland Disorder results in high blood pressure that causes heart problems such as heart failure or arrhythmia, the disability would be evaluated under criteria for the Cardiovascular System. The same goes for things like weight-loss problems, mood disorders, etc.
Your Adrenal Gland Disorders Disability Case
If you have been diagnosed with an Adrenal Gland Disorder and are unable to work as a result of the complications from it, you may be entitled to receive Social Security Disability benefits. Because proving the presence of a true disability can quickly become very complicated, it would be in your best interests to enlist the services of a qualified Social Security Disability attorney.
While it may seem like a pretty simple task to fill out some paperwork and send it in, the reality is that over two thirds of the first-time applications for Social Security Disability benefits are denied. It’s not so much that so few people are legitimately entitled to benefits; the problem is that their application paperwork is inaccurate or incomplete. An experienced Social Security Disability lawyer is intimately familiar with the application process, and has detailed knowledge about what it takes to adequately document the impact an Adrenal Gland Disorder has had upon your life. As a result, you stand a much better chance of winning approval of your disability case as soon as possible.