Endocrine System

Adrenal Glands

What are the physical characteristics of the adrenal glands?

The adrenal (from the Latin, meaning “upon the kidneys”) glands sit on the superior tip of each kidney. Each adrenal gland weighs approximately 0.19 ounces (7.5 grams). The glands are yellow in color and have a pyramid shape. Each adrenal gland has two sections that may almost be considered as separate glands. The inner portion is the adrenal medulla (from the Latin marrow, meaning “inside”). The outer portion, which surrounds the adrenal medulla, is the adrenal cortex (from the Latin, meaning “bark,” because its appearance is similar to the outer covering of a tree). The adrenal cortex is the larger part of the adrenal glands, accounting for nearly 90 percent of the gland by weight.


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