Adrenaline, also known as Epinephrine, is a hormone released into the bloodstream that has the function of acting on the cardiovascular system and keeping the body alert for situations of strong emotions or stress such as fight, flight, excitation or fear.
This substance is produced naturally by the adrenal glands, or adrenals, located above the kidneys, which also produce other hormones with Cortisol, Aldosterone, Androgens, Noradrenaline and Dopamine, which are very important for the body’s metabolism and blood circulation composition.
What is it for
As a way of stimulating the body, so that it can react more quickly to dangerous situations, some of the main effects of Adrenaline are:
- Increase heart rate;
- Speed up the flow of blood to the muscles;
- Activate the brain, making it more alert, with faster reactions and stimulating memory;
- Increase blood pressure;
- Speed up the frequency of breathing;
- Open the pulmonary bronchi;
- Dilate the pupils, facilitating vision for dark environments;
- Stimulate the production of extra energy, by transforming glycogen and fat into sugars;
- Decrease digestion and the production of secretions by the digestive tract, to save energy;
- Increase sweat production.
These effects are also stimulated by Noradrenaline and Dopamine, other neurotransmitter hormones produced by the adrenal gland, which are also responsible for several effects on the body and brain.
When it is produced
Adrenaline production is stimulated whenever any of the following situations exist:
- Fear of something , so that the body is prepared to fight or flee;
- Practicing sports , especially radicals, such as climbing or jumping;
- Before important moments , such as taking a test or interview;
- Moments of strong emotions , such as excitement, anxiety or anger;
- When there is a decrease in blood sugar , to stimulate the transformation of fats and glycogen into glucose.
Thus, a person constantly stressed lives with high levels of adrenaline, because his body is always on the alert. This persistent activation of the body’s reaction mechanisms means that there is a greater risk of developing high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias, cardiovascular diseases, in addition to a greater chance of acquiring autoimmune, endocrine, neurological and psychiatric diseases.
Adrenaline as medicine
The effects of adrenaline can be used in the form of medications, through the application of its synthetic form in the body. This substance is therefore common in medicines with a potent antiasthmatic, vasopressor and cardiac stimulant effect, being more used in emergency situations or in ICUs, in order to treat an anaphylactic reaction or to stimulate pressure levels, for example.
This medicine is only present in hospital environments, or can only be transported by people who are at high risk of having a severe allergic reaction, and cannot be purchased in pharmacies.