Adrenal hormones function, effects on the body, analyzes

Hormones are biologically active substances produced by the organs and glands of the body’s endocrine system and affecting the work of various systems. In the production of hormones, the adrenal glands play a huge role.

The adrenal glands are the glands of the body’s endocrine system. Like the kidneys, the adrenal glands have a paired arrangement and are located at the upper poles of the kidneys. They play an important role in the regulation of metabolic processes in the body and the adaptation of systems and organs to stressful situations. The adrenal glands are small glands, weighing about 10 grams. produce vital hormones, the imbalance of which leads to various diseases. The hormones secreted by the gland enter directly into the body’s circulatory system and are transported to target organs that are susceptible to their effects.

The adrenal glands consist of two layers of the cortical and medullary. Each layer is responsible for the production of certain types of hormones.

Hormones secreted by the adrenal glands, their main functions

The adrenal glands produce more than 40 different hormones that actively affect the functioning of the body. Moreover, the influence of some is more pronounced than others. They regulate fat, carbohydrate, protein and salt metabolism, actively influence the activity of the reproductive system.

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The main types of hormones produced by the adrenal glands and their functions can be presented in the form of a table:

How adrenal hormones affect the body

When the hormones produced by the adrenal glands are in balance, and the work of some complements and stimulates the work of others, we can talk about the state of health. When the functioning of these glands is disrupted, the hormonal background shifts. Violations in the direction of reducing the synthesis of substances, and in the direction of increasing, lead to a malfunction of the body, and the development of pathological conditions.

Disorders in the production of mineralocorticoids upward lead to:

  • Decrease in metabolic processes in the body.
  • Increased blood pressure and the development of hypertension.
  • The formation of edema.
  • The occurrence of seizures due to potassium deficiency.
  • The appearance of headaches and chest pains.

Decreased mineralocorticoid production leads to:

  • Increased fatigue, general weakness, malaise.
  • Reducing blood pressure and the development of hypotension.
  • Decreased muscle tone.

Disorders in the production of glucocorticoids upward lead to:

  • Increased blood pressure, the development of hypertension.
  • Violation of the splitting and accumulation of fat, while in the lower extremities it is practically absent, and is excessively deposited in the upper half of the body.
  • Development of secondary insulin-dependent diabetes.
  • The formation of gastric ulcer, increased acidity.
  • The development of osteoporosis.
  • The appearance of edema.
  • The destruction of collagen, skin disorders, the formation of stretch marks, the appearance of acne.

Lack of glucocorticoid production leads to:

  • The development of Addison’s disease.
  • Decrease in muscle mass, development of weakness.
  • Violation of the sense organs.
  • The development of a state of dehydration.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.

Disruption in the production of sex hormones can lead to underdevelopment or early development of primary and secondary sexual characteristics.

In women, androgenic steroid hyperfunction is manifested by:

  • The development of viril syndromes – conditions in which primary or secondary sexual characteristics change from female to male.
  • The development of infertility.
  • Excessive growth of stem hair above the lip, beard, chest, abdomen.
  • Excessive growth of vellus hair.

In men, hyperfunction of androgenic hormones has no manifestations.

Excessive synthesis of estrogen, in men, leads to:

  • The development of feminization is a condition in which primary or secondary male sex characteristics disappear and female ones develop.
  • In girls, it leads to early puberty and development.

The hypofunction of the production of sex hormones is manifested by hair loss.

Increased production of catecholamines leads to:

  • Decrease in the tone of the muscles of the bronchi and gallbladder, urinary organs of men and women, intestines.
  • Acceleration of the rhythm of the heart muscle, acceleration of blood flow, increase in blood pressure.
  • The appearance of fear and anxiety, limb tremors.

Decreased production of catecholamines leads to:

  • The development of bradycardia is a decrease in the heart rate.
  • Disorders from the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Development of meteorological dependence.

The adrenal cortex – its features

The adrenal cortex occupies most of the gland.

It consists of three main parts:

  • Glomerular layer.
  • Bundle layer.
  • Mesh layer.

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Each of these layers has structural features, and produces a certain type of hormones. The glomerular layer consists of rectangular cells, united in groups, produces mineralocorticoids. The bundle layer consists of elongated cells with a transverse arrangement, produces glucocorticoids. The reticular layer, consisting of small cells that have united areas, the layer produces sex hormones.

The adrenal medulla – its features

The adrenal medulla is the central part of the gland, which has a large structure and a dark yellow color. It is responsible for the production of catecholamines, which are released directly into the bloodstream. In addition to the main hormones, the medulla produces a large number of substances that regulate the activity of the central nervous system.

Types of tests to determine the level of adrenal hormones

The most important hormones to determine the level are:

Dehydroepiandrosterone. The main indications for determining the level of this hormone are problems with conception, delayed puberty, and ovarian disease. Venous blood is used to determine the level of dehydroepiandrosterone. A sample for the analysis of DHEA is taken in the morning on an empty stomach.

Cortisol. Its level is an important indicator for the diagnosis of Cushing’s and Addison’s diseases, for determining the causes of adrenogenital syndrome, hypertension. The following are used to track hormone levels:

  • Blood from a vein. The analysis is carried out in the morning on an empty stomach, to determine the daily fluctuations in the level, blood is donated twice – in the morning and in the afternoon.
  • Saliva. The research method allows you to determine the level of cortisol at any time of the day, including at night, is comfortable for children. Saliva for research is collected at the time appointed by the doctor in a clean, dry container.
  • Urine. Basically, daily urine analysis is used. The use of urine as a material for research allows obtaining more accurate data on the level of cortisol in the body, taking into account daily fluctuations. Urine is collected in a clean, dry container with the addition of boric acid preservative during the day preceding the date of the analysis. The first portion of urine is not collected. Then all of the daily urine and the first portion of the next day’s urine are collected in one container. Store the liquid can in a dark, cool place. Further, on the day of the analysis, all the collected material is mixed, the resulting volume is measured, about 100 ml is poured into a separate container, and taken to the laboratory.

Aldosterone. It is determined to establish the causes of hormonal imbalance, diagnose adrenal hyperplasia and Conn’s syndrome. For research use:

  • Blood from a vein. The analysis is performed twice. The first blood sampling is carried out in the morning on an empty stomach in a prone position, then after 4 hours, in a standing position.
  • Urine. Daily analysis is used as a method. Biomaterial is collected per day, excluding the first morning urination, and adding the first morning urination of the next day.

Catecholamines. The level of hormones is analyzed if there is a suspicion of the development of neoplastic diseases, heart attack, hypertension. To study the level of the hormone, use:

  • Blood from a vein. The analysis is performed in the morning on an empty stomach.
  • Urine. This method is mainly used to diagnose leukemia, kidney failure. The material is collected in a clean, dry container. The first morning portion of urine is not collected, then urine is collected in a container three times – after three, six, twelve hours from morning urination.

Rules for preparing for donating blood for hormones:

  • The day before the procedure, you should minimize irritating situations and stress, physical activity.
  • Eliminate alcohol intake.
  • Avoid taking medications, oral contraceptives, diuretics.
  • On the day of the procedure, exclude the use of tobacco.
  • For two weeks adhere to a diet, exclude fried, salty, spicy foods.

Failure to prepare for the test may affect its results. Modern diagnosis of disorders in the production of hormones by the adrenal glands allows you to start timely and adequate treatment and avoid possible complications.

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Tatyana Jakowenko

Editor-in-chief of the Detonic online magazine, cardiologist Yakovenko-Plahotnaya Tatyana. Author of more than 950 scientific articles, including in foreign medical journals. He has been working as a cardiologist in a clinical hospital for over 12 years. He owns modern methods of diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and implements them in his professional activities. For example, it uses methods of resuscitation of the heart, decoding of ECG, functional tests, cyclic ergometry and knows echocardiography very well.

For 10 years, she has been an active participant in numerous medical symposia and workshops for doctors - families, therapists and cardiologists. He has many publications on a healthy lifestyle, diagnosis and treatment of heart and vascular diseases.

He regularly monitors new publications of European and American cardiology journals, writes scientific articles, prepares reports at scientific conferences and participates in European cardiology congresses.