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Adrenal Gland Disorders – Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

 
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What is it?

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is a name for a group of related genetic conditions that affect the adrenal glands. Adrenal glands are a pair of walnut-shaped organs near the kidneys. Typically, with this condition, individuals do not manufacture enough of the hormone called cortisol. Babies to adults can be affected.

Causes and Symptoms

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is an inherited genetic defect that causes abnormal formation of the enzyme that assists the adrenal glands in making cortisol. If both parents have congenital adrenal hyperplasia or if both parents are carriers of the genetic defect, this increases the risk to the child. This inheritance pattern is called autosomal recessive. Cortisol, a hormone, has an important part in maintaining good blood pressure, blood sugars, energy level and the protection against stress on the body.

Now, let’s talk about symptoms. First, there are two main kinds of congenital adrenal hyperplasia. There is the classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia and nonclassic congenital adrenal hyperplasia. With the classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia, symptoms are more severe and are detected at infancy or in young children. The Mayo Clinics lists the symptoms as:

Ambiguous genitalia in girls
Enlarged penis in boys
Failure to regain birth weight
Weight loss
Dehydration
Vomiting
Very early puberty
Rapid growth during childhood, but shorter than average final height
Irregular menstrual cycles in females
Infertility in women and men
Severe acne
Nausea
Fatigue
Low blood pressure
Low bone density
High blood cholesterol
Obesity
Slow recovery from infections, such as colds

In the nonclassic congenital adrenal hyperplasia, symptoms are milder and arise in late childhood or early adulthood. Symptoms as detailed by the Mayo Clinic may include:

Irregular or absent menstruation
In girls, masculine characteristics – facial hair, increased body hair, deep voice
Infertility
Very early puberty
Rapid growth during childhood, but shorter than average final height
Severe acne
Nausea
Fatigue
Low blood pressure
Low bone density
High blood cholesterol
Obesity

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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