Adrenal glands

The adrenal glands are located above the kidneys. The hormones produced by the adrenal glands affect nearly every organ in the body.

The inner layer of the adrenal gland releases substances (hormones) such as adrenaline that:

  • Help control blood pressure.
  • Help the body react to stress by increasing heart rate, opening the airways, and shifting blood flow to the large muscles.

The outer layer of the adrenal gland releases hormones such as cortisol that:

  • Help the body deal with stress.
  • Help control the breakdown of fats and proteins to make sugars in the liver.
  • Control blood pressure and the blood levels of some substances (such as potassium and sodium).
  • Affect sexual development and reproduction.

Last Updated: June 26, 2008

Author: Bets Davis, MFA

Medical Review: Caroline S. Rhoads, MD - Internal Medicine & David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology & Metabolism

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