What is adrenaline?

Adrenaline is a hormone and neurotransmitter produced by the kidney glands. The international common name (INN) is epinephrine, a term much more used in the medical field. This hormone is produced especially in situations of stress, excitement or nervousness.

Its powerful effects are part of the body’s response to danger and include increasing heart rate, constricting blood vessels and dilating the respiratory tract; all aimed at increasing blood flow to the muscles and oxygen to the lungs. Epinephrine is used as a treatment in some life-threatening cases, such as anaphylactic shock or cardiac arrest.

adrenal glands

The adrenal glands, also known as the adrenal glands (from the Latin Ads- s Renes, literally “near the kidney”), are situated just above each kidney in the human body, hence their name. They have an approximate length of 7.5 – 8 cm and produce several hormones, including adrenaline.

Adrenaline is classified within the catecholamine group of Hormones related to the stress response. Other catecholamines are norepinephrine (or norepinephrine) and dopamine. These three hormones exert their function on various tissues and organs in the body to prepare them to respond to stressful situations.

The stress response

The stress response is a concept used to refer to the body’s reactions to situations where a significant physical response is required. This response is an evolutionary adaptation that allows the body to react quickly to danger. Airway dilation allows more oxygen to be captured, increasing physical performance to respond to a sudden increase in activity (such as running away). The contraction of blood vessels in most parts of the body redirects blood through the heart, lungs and major muscle groups to aid in the immediate physical response.

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When a person is in a dangerous situation, the hypothalamus, located in the brain, tells the adrenal glands to release adrenaline and other hormones directly into the bloodstream. The body’s response occurs in a matter of seconds giving a powerful physical response almost instantly. Increases strength and speed decreases the ability to feel pain. This is what is known as an “adrenaline rush”.

Stress as a psychological illness is due to continuous exposure to stressful situations for the person that trigger the release of adrenaline without there being any danger of running away or without being able to face it (eg work or family situations). The body is in this state of alert and prepared to face a threat.

Secundary effects

In addition to increasing the body’s overall strength and performance, adrenaline also causes some side effects. Increased blood pressure and increased blood oxygenation can cause common symptoms such as dizziness and blurred vision. These side effects go away on their own and can last up to 1 hour.

When there is stress but no real danger, adrenaline causes irritability and restlessness. This is in part because adrenaline causes a spike in blood glucose, making energy available that the body is not using. Nowadays it is normal that stressful situations are also situations with little physical activity, adding both produces a state of anxiety that, in a sustained way, often leads to a change in the normal state of anxiety, one of the most frequent psychological diseases today. physical exercise Helps to burn that extra energy and produce hormones that counteract the effects of adrenaline.

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Although adrenaline plays an important role in survival, continuous high levels of adrenaline put the heart under constant strain and, in some cases, lead to heart failure. cardiac insufficiency. Also, high levels of adrenaline produce insomnia and an altered state of nervousness, symptoms typical of chronic stress.

medical uses

Adrenaline was first synthesized in the laboratory in 1904 and is a drug that is used in serious situations where the patient’s life is at serious risk. It is commonly used in cases of anaphylactic shock (anaphylaxis). When signs of a severe allergic reaction are observed, it should be administered quickly. Some people with severe allergies carry self-injecting epinephrine injections for emergencies. These people receive very detailed and precise instructions from their doctors on what to do if necessary and how to inject adrenaline.

Epinephrine is also one of the main drugs used to treat cardiac arrest and some types of arrhythmias. Epinephrine stimulates the heart muscle, increasing the heart rate. It also assists in patient recovery by promoting greater blood circulation in the heart, lungs and brain.

Epinephrine is also used in combination with local anesthetics, eg lidocaine. Adrenaline constricts blood vessels in the area, delaying the withdrawal of the local anesthetic; This achieves a longer duration of the anesthetic effect.


adrenaline formula Renal glands injectable epinephrine adrenaline auto-injectors Pharmaceutical form of injectable lidocaine + adrenaline

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