Explain the function of adrenal glands?
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The adrenal glands are part of the endocrine system. You have two of them, sitting like a cap on top of each kidney. They have two main functions, release of stress-response hormones and kidney regulation.
The adrenal cortex, or outer layer, produces corticosteroid hormones including cortisol (the so-called "stress" hormone), aldosterone, which regulates blood pressure by changing urine output, and androgens like testosterone, which is why females have a small amount of this typically male hormone in their bodies too.
The medulla, or core, of the adrenal gland produces adrenalin and noradrenalin, which are also called epinephrin and norepinephrin.The function of this pair of hormones is to modulate the fight-or-flight response. When a person is injured, under extreme stress, or is frightened, the fight-or-flight response prepares the body for emergency response. The heart rate increases, blood flow is increased to the muscles and restricted to the digestive system, and pain sensitivity is lowered. While this response is obviously bery necessary for suvival, it is hard on the body, and people who live with a lot of stress eventually suffer physical consequences.
Adrenal glands also known as suprarenal glands, are triangular shaped glands located on top of each kidney. They are one of the endocrine glands, others being the pituitary gland, pineal, thymus, ovaries, testes, thyroid and pancreas. The main characteristic of endocrine glands is that they secrete their hormones directly into the blood stream, while other glands release hormones into ducts that carry them to the blood stream.
Functions of Adrenal Glands
Both the regions of the adrenal glands are centers of production of some vitally important hormones, having specific functions. Some important hormones secreted by the adrenal glands and their functions are as follows:
Aldosterone hormone is secreted by the glomerulosa zone (outermost layer) of the adrenal cortex. Its main function is to regulate the amount of potassium, and sodium passed into the urine. Its production is controlled by the renin angiotensin system (RAS) or renin angiotensin aldosterone system (RAAS). This is a hormone system that regulates blood pressure and fluid balance in the body. Generally renin is produced by the kidneys in the conditions of excess loss of salt and water from the body. Renin in turn, triggers the production of angiotensin, which ultimately stimulates the adrenal glands to release the aldosterone hormone. Decreased blood pressure also stimulates the secretion of aldosterone. So, together with the renin angiotensin system, aldosterone assists the kidneys to retain important minerals like sodium and potassium. It can also constrict the blood vessels, by increased sodium and water retention, and thereby increase blood pressure.
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