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Glucose metabolism disorders in patients with adrenal gland disorders: pathophysiology and management


The aim of this review is to explore and discuss disorders of glucose metabolism that can arise in individuals with adrenal gland disorders, as well as to enumerate the available therapeutic treatments for these while considering their benefits and drawbacks. Hyperfunctioning adrenal glands, as in hypercortisolism, hyperaldosteronism, and malignancy, or hypofunctioning of adrenal glands, as in adrenal insufficiency, can lead to carbohydrate metabolism dysregulation with subsequent glucometabolic repercussions, either hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia. Glycemic disorders further affect patients’ quality of life and represent a therapeutic dilemma for physicians. Current management strategies for glycemic dysregulation in individuals with adrenal gland disorders are fighting the underlying causes, as well as utilizing antidiabetic therapies that aid in maintaining euglycemia. Further research focused on discovering drug preparations of greater accuracy and effectiveness tailored to patients with adrenal problems as well as studies investigating optimal lifestyle management models for these individuals will assist towards achieving optimal regulation of glucose metabolism.

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Correspondence to Stavroula A. Paschou.

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Ioakim, K.J., Sydney, G.I. & Paschou, S.A. Glucose metabolism disorders in patients with adrenal gland disorders: pathophysiology and management. Hormones 19, 135–143 (2020).

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  • Adrenal
  • Incidentalomas
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Insulin resistance
  • Antidiabetic medications