Functions of the adrenal glands in the human body

As is known, in the human body there are many mechanisms necessary for the regulation of vital activity. One of them is responsible for the formation and secretion of hormones. It includes organs such as the thyroid and pancreas, adrenal glands, and germ cells. Each of them is responsible for the secretion of certain hormones and their own functions. One of the most important endocrine glands are the adrenal glands. Despite their small size, they provide regulation of many processes occurring in the human body. This is due to the fact that the adrenal glands secrete several hormones at once, each of which performs a certain role.

adrenal function

Functions and structure of the adrenal glands

The adrenal glands are paired organs that are located in the retroperitoneal space. They are located directly on the upper surface of the kidneys and have their own capsule. The right and left glands differ in shape, but have approximately the same size and location. Both adrenal glands are composed of two layers: the cortex and the medulla.The first is the main part of the stratum of organs. Thanks to him, supported by water-salt balance, mineral metabolism, as well as ensured sexual functions. The brain substance of the adrenal glands occupies a smaller part, but its role is also very important for life activity. Thanks to him, hormones such as adrenaline and norepinephrine enter the blood. These substances are necessary not only for the normal functioning of the heart, but also are one of the main mediators of the nervous system. The structure and function of the adrenal glands are in direct relationship with each other, since each zone of these organs is responsible for the development of its own hormone. This allows you to diagnose disorders of a certain part of the gland.

adrenal function in women

Adrenal cortex

Under the fibrous capsule is the cortex of the adrenal glands. It occupies 90% of the gland. In turn, this layer is divided into 3 parts. The glomerular, bundle and reticular zones are included in one anatomical formation, which is called the "adrenal cortex". The functions of each of these layers are different. They are associated with hormones that are produced in a particular zone. The glomerular layer is responsible for maintaining mineral metabolism in the body. It releases hormones such as aldosterone and corticosterone into the blood.Thanks to their action, the work of the renal tubules is regulated, as a result of which excess fluid does not linger in the body. In addition to maintaining ion exchange, these hormones help maintain normal blood pressure. The function of the adrenal glands is also determined by the bundle zone of the cortex. The formation of glucocorticosteroids, the main regulators of carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism, takes place in it. In addition, these hormones are closely related to catecholamines and insulin. Corticosteroids affect many processes in the body. Among them - the suppression of inflammatory reactions, the expansion of the bronchi, reduced immune response, etc. The reticular zone of the cortex produces androgens - sex hormones responsible for the formation of secondary sexual characteristics.

adrenal hormones and functions

Adrenal medulla

The functions of the adrenal glands largely depend on the medulla. This is where adrenaline formation occurs. This hormone is responsible for such important indicators as blood pressure and pulse. Epinephrine, in a different way - epinephrine, is released into the blood under the influence of stressful situations.At rest, the hormone is secreted only in small quantities. Adrenaline adrenal medulla forms and accumulates adrenaline. The functions of this hormone are also associated with the transmission of nerve impulses. In this case, adrenaline acts as a mediator.

Adrenal glands: hormones and functions in the body

adrenal cortex function

Although the adrenal cortex and the medulla secrete various hormones, they are all interconnected. The functions of the adrenal glands are performed due to the close interaction of both layers. For example, adrenaline is released into the blood through corticosteroids, which, as it were, "signal" the body about stress. In addition, the hormones of the beam zone are responsible for the regulation of all types of metabolism, which is due to their relationship with the secrets of the pancreas and thyroid glands. Their effects are aimed at helping such biogenic amines as thyroxin, glucagon and adrenaline. They also regulate the production of insulin by pancreatic cells. All this is carried out by the adrenal glands, their functions in the body are very important for vital activity. With a violation in these glands, the entire endocrine system may suffer.

adrenal function in the body

Adrenal function in women and men

In addition to the fact that the adrenal glands are involved in many processes of life, they are responsible for the appearance of a person, voice and sexual behavior. All this is provided by sex hormones - androgens, produced in the reticular zone of the cortex. It can be argued that the functions of the adrenal glands in women and men are identical. However, due to the androgens of the reticular zone, secondary sex characteristics appear in adolescence. In women, this is characterized by a lack of facial hair, a thin voice and a growth of the milk glands. Androgens in men contribute to the development of muscle mass, the appearance of mustache and beard, as well as behavior change during adolescence.

Adrenal gland malfunction

Impaired adrenal function leads to various consequences for the body. Manifestations depend on the spread of the lesion on the gland tissue. In addition, the violation may be due to both hyper- and hyposecretion of hormones. Depending on this, one or another of the human adrenal glands suffers. The most common symptoms are: increased blood pressure, female-type obesity, increased skin pigmentation (most often on the abdomen), alopecia.In addition to these manifestations, there are more serious problems, such as a combined violation of all types of metabolism, hermaphroditism, hypertensive crisis with the development of heart attack and stroke.

adrenal dysfunction

Diseases in violation of the adrenal cortex

There are many pathologies associated with disorders of the adrenal cortex. The most common of these are considered Itsenko-Cushing's disease and Conn's syndrome. The first is associated with increased formation and release of corticosteroids. The main manifestations of Itsenko-Cushing's disease: hyperglycemia, obesity of the face and upper half of the body, muscle weakness, increased pigmentation of the abdominal skin in the form of strips. Conn syndrome develops in violation of the glomerular zone of the cortex. It is characterized by a high content of aldosterone. Clinically, this is manifested by muscle weakness and cramps, itching, diabetes symptoms - thirst and polyuria. Violation in the reticular zone in boys can lead to acceleration - early puberty or, conversely, to infantilism. In girls, symptoms such as hirsutism are observed - male hairiness, coarse timbre of the voice, hypoplasia of the mammary glands. In rare cases, the violation of the mesh zone leads to hermaphroditism.The combined failure of all the hormones of the cortex is called Addison's disease.

human adrenal function

Disturbance of adrenal medulla

Another function of the adrenal glands in the human body is associated with the medulla. In violation of this layer develops a disease such as pheochromocytoma. It is characterized by increased production and secretion of adrenaline into the blood. The consequences of this is an increase in blood pressure to critical values. Often the disease is confused with hypertension and kidney disease. Its difference is that the increase in blood pressure comes suddenly and reaches high numbers. In addition, the patient's condition returns to normal as unexpectedly. Hypertension with pheochromocytoma requires special treatment. The consequences of this condition are dangerous development of heart attack and acute cerebrovascular accident.

Diagnosis and treatment of adrenal gland diseases

Suspected adrenal disease can be on the clinical manifestations. The final diagnosis will become clear only after donating blood for hormones and instrumental methods of examination (ultrasound, MRI, scintigraphy).Most often, adrenal tumors result in diseases. Pathologies associated with hypersecretion of hormones require surgical treatment. After the operation, adrenal function can be fully restored. When hormone deficiency requires lifelong replacement therapy.

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