What is the function of the adrenal gland?


Quick Answer

The adrenal glands are responsible for creating hormones, including cortisol, aldosterone, androgen, noradrenaline and adrenaline. Each person has two adrenal glands, and one is located on the top of each kidney.

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Full Answer

Adrenal glands are triangular-shaped, measure approximately 1.5 inches high and 3 inches long and are composed of two parts, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. The outer part is the adrenal cortex, which creates cortisol, aldosterone and androgen hormones. The second part is the adrenal medulla, which creates noradrenaline and adrenaline.

Cortisol is a hormone that controls metabolism and helps the body react to stress, according to Endocrineweb. It affects the immune system and lowers inflammatory responses in the body. Aldosterone helps regulate sodium and potassium levels, blood volume and blood pressure. Androgen hormones are steroid hormones that are converted to female or male hormones in other parts of the body.

Noradrenaline helps regulate blood pressure, increasing it during times of stress, notes Endocrineweb. Adrenaline is often associated with the adrenal glands, and it increases the heart rate and blood flow to the muscles and the brain.

Cushing's syndrome and Addison's disease impair the functionality of the adrenal glands, notes Healthline. If the adrenal cortex stops working, death results because that part of the adrenal glands regulates metabolic processes vital to life, explains Healthline

Learn more about Glands & Hormones

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