The adrenal glands, which are also called the suprarenal glands, are two tiny triangular glands sitting atop each of our kidneys. Their job in our bodies is to create a battery of hormones who work within the endocrine system to carry out various essential functions, including response to stress, blood pressure, the immune system, and regulate the metabolism.
Johns Hopkins lists the assortment of hormones produced by our adrenal glands:
- DHEA and Androgenic Steroids are considered “weak male hormones” and precursor hormones. In women, DHEA and androgenic steroids are converted into female hormones–also called estrogens–in the ovaries. In men, these hormones are converted into male hormones–aka androgens–in the testes. The ovaries and testes themselves produce estrogens and androgens in markedly higher amounts, respectively.
- Epinephrine (Adrenaline) and Norepinephrine (Noradrenaline) are our body’s “fight or flight” hormones, which are controlled by the adrenal gland’s inner area, also called the adrenal medulla. Both hormones have similar functions, and are able to carry out a number of roles, including increasing the heart rate and blood flow to the muscles and brain, aiding in sugar metabolism, as well as forcing heart contractions. They also help maintain blood pressure by controlling the squeezing of blood vessels in a process known as vasoconstriction; this allows these hormones to increase our blood pressure in response to stressful situations.
- Aldosterone plays a major part in regulating blood pressure, as well as the electrolytes sodium and potassium. Aldosterone sends messages to the kidneys, and tells them whether to absorb more sodium into the bloodstream or release more of it into the urine.
- Cortisol aids in the control of how our body makes use of proteins, carbs, and fat; it also keeps our blood pressure in check, suppresses inflammation, upregulates blood sugar, and can decrease the formation of bones.
The Ezra abdominal, torso, and full-body scans may be able to find cancerous and precancerous states, as well as other conditions in your adrenal glands. You can learn more about our screening options by following this link.