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Kidney Diseases

Adrenal Nodule

05/27/2010

Question:

I was told by my doctor that I had a nodule on my adrenal gland, 1/3 inch in size. Is this something that I should be concerned about?

Answer:

Most adrenal nodules (especially small ones such as yours) are benign, not cancerous, and most have no effect at all on a person's health.  However, they can sometimes produce a hormone that can cause high blood pressure, or can make previous high blood pressure worse.  Hormones produced by an adrenal nodule can also result in a low blood potassium level, which can cause heart rhythm problems, muscle cramps, or weakness.

So you need to talk with your doctor and make sure that your blood pressure and potassium level are OK for now.  The adrenal nodule (called an "adenoma") should be rechecked - probably with a CT scan - in about 6 months to be sure it's not growing in size.   

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Response by:

Mildred   Lam, MD Mildred Lam, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University