Adrenal glands, also known as suprarenal glands, are small, triangular-shaped glands located on top of both kidneys. The adrenal glands produce hormones that help regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, response to stress and other essential functions.
Adrenal glands are composed of two parts — the cortex and the medulla — which are each responsible for producing different hormones.
The role of the adrenal glands in your body is to release certain hormones directly into the bloodstream. Many of these hormones have to do with how the body responds to stress, and some are vital to existence. Both parts of the adrenal glands — the adrenal cortex and the adrenal medulla — perform distinct and separate functions.
Cortisol is a glucocorticoid hormone produced by the zona fasciculata that plays several important roles in the body. It helps control the body’s use of fats, proteins and carbohydrates; suppresses inflammation; regulates blood pressure; increases blood sugar; and can also decrease bone formation.
This hormone also controls the sleep/wake cycle. It is released during times of stress to help your body get an energy boost and better handle an emergency situation.
Epinephrine is made in the adrenal medulla, the inner part of an adrenal gland, and this hormone controls the flight or fight response. The main hormones secreted by the adrenal medulla include epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline), which have similar functions.
Epinephrine and norepinephrine are capable of increasing the heart rate and force of heart contractions, increasing blood flow to the muscles and brain, relaxing airway smooth muscles, and assisting in glucose (sugar) metabolism. They also control the squeezing of the blood vessels (vasoconstriction), helping maintain blood pressure and increasing it in response to stress.
Like several other hormones produced by the adrenal glands, epinephrine and norepinephrine are often activated in physically and emotionally stressful situations when your body needs additional resources and energy to endure unusual strain.
The below tests help with Adrenal/stress testing: