The adrenal glands are very special, their function is vital for life. When they stop working it is necessary to replace the hormones otherwise severe illness and death can occur. The adrenal glands are also called the suprarenal glands. This is an anatomic name because they are located just on top of the kidneys on each side of the body. So, like we have two kidneys we have two adrenal glands. They are small and triangular in shape. The adrenal gland itself is made out of two parts, like a shell and a core: the outer region or shell is called the adrenal cortex, and the inner region or core, is called the adrenal medulla. Each part has distinct functions.
THE ADRENAL GLANDS
The adrenal glands located above each kidney. A person usually has two kidneys and therefore every individual has two adrenal glands. These glands are the master stress glands. They secrete hormones under the direction of the brain. Two master brain glands are involved. The hypothalamus secretes a hormone called Corticotrophin Releasing Hormone (CRH). CRH then works on the other brain master gland, the pituitary and this gland in turn produces Adreno-cortico-tropin Hormone (ACTH). ACTH then has an effect on the adrenal gland and makes it work.
The adrenal gland secretes important live saving hormones. They help to regulate many body processes. These hormones once released into the blood stream, cause their effect and the brain then senses the hormones produced by the adrenal and based on the message it regulates itself. This is a closed loop of communication. If there is an excess or a deficiency we can see it through the sensitivity of these hormones to change and by measuring these hormones a doctor can determine what is going on, define the problem and address a treatment plan with the individual. The adrenal gland uses cholesterol to make hormones. Cholesterol is vital for the gland to produce them, and without it the production would be compromised. It is hard to have too low cholesterol, but it can happen.