Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Adrenal Crisis Physiology

The adrenal gland produces four hormones:

Adrenal Crisis Aldosterone

Aldosterone causes the body to retain salt, which in turn causes the body to retain water. This increase in water can raise blood pressure.

Adrenal Crisis Cortisol

Cortisol causes increased blood glucose levels. This balances the effect of insulin, which causes the body to use glucose.

Other functions of cortisol include:

  • Helping the body supply nutrients needed during times of stress
  • Maintaining blood pressure and heart function
  • Regulating the body's use of protein, carbohydrate, and fats

Adrenal Crisis Epinephrine

Epinephrine stimulates the nervous system, helps maintain blood pressure, and increases the heart rate. Epinephrine is released into the bloodstream when the blood glucose is low, and during times of intense exercise and stress.

Adrenal Crisis Norepinephrine

Norepinephrine helps to maintain the blood pressure, but has little effect on the heart.

Last Updated: Jun 18, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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