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Adrenal Glands: Location and Function

Cancer Types - Adrenal Glands: Location and Function

Anatomy of the adrenal glands

Adrenal glands, which are also called suprarenal glands, are small, triangular glands located on top of both kidneys. An adrenal gland is made of two parts--the outer region is called the adrenal cortex and the inner region is called the adrenal medulla.

Function of the adrenal glands

The adrenal glands work interactively with the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. For example, for the adrenal cortex to produce corticosteroid hormones:

Both parts of the adrenal glands--the adrenal cortex and the adrenal medulla--perform very separate functions.

What is the adrenal cortex?

The adrenal cortex, the outer portion of the adrenal gland, secretes hormones that have an effect on the body's metabolism, on chemicals in the blood, and on certain body characteristics. The adrenal cortex secretes corticosteroids and other hormones directly into the bloodstream. The hormones produced by the adrenal cortex include:

What is the adrenal medulla?

The adrenal medulla, the inner part of the adrenal gland, is not essential to life, but helps a person in coping with physical and emotional stress. The adrenal medulla secretes the following hormones:

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