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Adrenal Gland Function: Its Impact on Your Health
- A hormone imbalance can be caused by adrenal adenoma
- Adrenal gland function is important for the production of sex hormones, including estrogen and progesterone
- This glad also plays a role in metabolism and the body’s flight or fight response
The adrenal gland is a small pair of glands located atop the kidneys. The structure of these glands consists of an external cortex and an interior medulla. Each part of the gland performs a very different function with the medulla’s function being generally considered less essential for life and the external, or cortex, being considered more essential as the hormones that it produces impact metabolism and other processes vital to life. Adrenal gland function contributes to a number of processes within the human body.
The hormones that are produced and by these glands control how an individual’s body uses a number of substances, affect the immune system, inhibit the amount of urine that is passed into the urine, thus maintaining blood pressure and the volume of blood, increase the rate and force of the heart’s beating, aid the liver in converting glycogen to glucose. “Sex hormones” that impact development of the sexual system during puberty and throughout maturation are also produced by the adrenal gland.
An individual’s metabolism may be the most vital, direct way that the function adrenal gland’s function impacts an individual’s health. The adrenal cortex or outer section of the gland is responsible for the production of the hormones that have the greatest direct impact on these functions. Among the hormones that are produced in this section of the gland are: the aldosterone hormone and the corticosteroid hormones. Aldosterone hormone inhibits the amount of urine that is excreted into an individual’s urine.
This impacts blood pressure and the volume of blood and has a resulting impact on the dietary needs and metabolism of sodium. The corticosteroid hormones produced include hydrocortisone hormone. Hydrocortisone hormone which is also known as cortisol controls the body’s use of fats, proteins and carbohydrates making its presence significant in the metabolic process and making a hormonal balance important to an individual’s overall health. Epinephrine helps with the conversion of glycogen to glucose in the liver; epinephrine is produced in the adrenal medula and we’ll mention it in the fight or flight section of this article.
Among the causes of hormonal imbalance of these hormones is the presence of a benign growth called an adrenal adenoma. Adrenal adenoma growths occur in the cortex section of the adrenal gland and can cause an over-production of these hormones.
Fight or Flight
This commonly termed choice of reaction to stress is closely associated with the adrenal medulla and the hormones that are produced there. In this section of the adrenal gland you will find the production of the hormone typically brought to mind by the mention of the gland, epinephrine or adrenaline. Adrenaline creates many of the thrill feels that some enjoy including an increase the heart rate and the force of the heart contractions. It also promotes the flow of blood to the muscles and the brain. This hormone also causes the smooth muscles to relax.
The adrenal glands also produce the sexual hormones that initiate the initial sexual maturation. The hormones that are produced by the adrenal glands also contribute to development of the sexual system throughout the maturation process. Some of these same hormones estrogen and testosterone also act to influence the function of mature sexual systems including fertility and libido.
Another significant factor in the adrenal gland’s function in the production of these hormones is that after menopause when ovary production of estrogen diminishes causing a change in the balance of estrogen and progesterone the adrenal gland function may continue to produce estrogen helping to reduce the severity of the change in the hormone balance.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Hormonal Health11 Jul 2009|