The human body is a very complex construct in which many components interact, these components encompassing all organs and each of which fulfills a specific function. There are some organs, if they fail, the whole mechanism collapses completely and ultimately death would occur. One of these vital organs is the Adrenal gland.
Schematic representation of the anatomy and structure of the adrenal gland. Click to enlarge.
The Latin names of the Adrenal gland are called Glandula suprarenalis and Glandula adrenalis. This organ is a paired hormonal gland, which in humans is located above the upper poles of the kidneys.
The adrenal gland is subordinate to the autonomic nervous system and the hormonal regulatory cycle. It consists of two organs that are functionally different.
While the adrenal medulla is one of the two to be assigned to the sympathetic nervous system and its main functions are the production of adrenaline and noradrenaline, the adrenal cortex is involved in the sugar, water and mineral balance and in the production of steroid hormones.
These two functionally different organs are located in separate subregions of the Adrenal gland.
From an anatomical point of view, it consists of an outer and an inner part. The inner part is called the adrenal medulla, while the outer part is called the adrenal cortex.
The adrenal medulla is made up of a string of nerve cells and is therefore basically part of the nervous system. The adrenal cortex, on the other hand, consists of 3 different layers, which, however, can only be clearly distinguished from one another on closer inspection under the microscope.
Both are not only different in structure, but also have different functions. The adrenal cortex is mainly used to produce hormones. Among the multitude of hormones produced are sex hormones and the hormones aldosterone and cortisol.
Aldosterone is one of the mineral corticoids and controls the body's salt balance, with the affected types of salt being potassium and sodium. It also has an influence on blood pressure, as it causes increased retention of water by increasing the retention of sodium in the kidney region in the body.
In contrast, the main task of cortisol is the provision of sugar as an energy source. It accomplishes this process by stimulating the gluconeogenesis area. This body's own stores are induced to produce sugar. More sugar is created through the breakdown of fat and the breakdown of the body's own sugar deposits. In both cases energy is gained.
In addition, cortisone has other functions such as increasing the effectiveness of stress hormones such as adrenaline and an anti-inflammatory effect by dampening the entire immune system. Sex hormones are also produced in the adrenal cortex. In the adrenal medulla there is a production of transmitters, which are also known as messenger substances.
The hormones formed here belong to the group of biogenic amines and are released into the bloodstream by the adrenal medulla. The adrenal medulla also produces the stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline, which are released when the body is in an alarm situation.
There in the Adrenal gland Many different hormones are produced, disorders can also occur in the most varied of ways. The diseases are related either to an underactive or an overactive organ.
The most important of these are tumors, as these can lead to an overactive kidney and, in extreme cases, by displacing the tissue of the adrenal gland from a restricted function to complete adrenal failure. Examples of such disorders are hyperaldosteronism, which is an overproduction of aldosterone, which leads to an excessive decrease in blood potassium levels and high blood pressure.
Another disease is hyperadrenocorticism, in which an increased glucorticoid production occurs. This form can be recognized by an increased blood sugar level, muscle and bone breakdown and skin changes. Another condition that manifests itself in sudden high blood pressure is an underactive adrenal medulla.
However, this occurs relatively rarely. Another example of a disease that can occur in connection with the adrenal gland is the Waterhouse-Friderichsen syndrome, in which the kidney function stops acutely.