Epinephrine/Adrenaline: What is it?

Epinephrine/Adrenaline: What is it?

Did you know that when you are stuck in a stressful/life-threatening situation which body hormone helps you? The answer is adrenaline. But if this hormone is not balanced this will lead to health-related problems. To know which health-related problems arise from this adrenaline imbalance, read this article.  

Epinephrine (adrenaline) is considered a hormone and a neurotransmitter that plays a significant role in decision-making in fight-and-flight situations. As a neurotransmitter, it works as a compound with norepinephrine to transmit signals between nerve cells and hormones. It also helps in many distinct functions of the body.  


The physiological changes that happen when epinephrine is released into the bloodstream are as follows: 

  • Increased blood sugar levels  
  • Increased heart rate 
  • Increased blood flow to vital organs 
  • Increased strength and performance 
  • Increased contractility of your heart muscles 
  • Relaxation of smooth muscles in the airways to improve breathing 

These functions work to provide extra energy for your body. When you are stressed out or afraid, your body releases a lot of epinephrine (also known as the adrenaline rush), which helps to respond to ‘fight or flight’ situations.  

 Fight or flight response and Adrenaline 

To respond to acute stress (flight or fight) situations, the body transmits a signal and releases a hormone to manage distinct functions of the body. In this situation, the person feels stressed because this kind of situation needs an immediate response- for example, you need to run faster to escape from a burning building.  

When the brain (amygdala) detects danger, it signals the hypothalamus to activate the autonomic nervous system (ANS). 

The ANS signals the adrenal gland to begin pumping epinephrine into the bloodstream. This epinephrine surge is commonly referred to as an adrenaline rush or the fight or flight response. 

Epinephrine stimulates alpha- and beta-adrenoreceptors in various body organs and tissues, including: 

  • The heart 
  • Blood vessels 
  • Lungs 
  • The muscles 

Adrenaline hormone increases blood sugar levels, heart rate, and contractility, so that body gets extra energy to act in those kinds of situations. And noradrenaline (released along with adrenaline) helps to regulate the functions of the eyes, skin, muscles, liver, and airways, to take certain actions in response to the decision that the brain made. These functions work until you make it out of danger.   

Conditions caused by low and high epinephrine levels 

Low epinephrine levels can lead to these health-related problems:  

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Headaches 
  • Sleeping Problems 
  • Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). 
  • Changes in blood pressure and heart rate.  
  • Migraine 
  • Fibromyalgia 
  • Restless Leg syndrome 

Having high epinephrine levels can lead to these health-related problems, including: 

  • High Blood pressure (hypertension) 
  • Irregular heartbeat 
  • Lots of Sweating 
  • Cold or pale skin 
  • Severe headaches 
  • Stroke and cardiovascular disease 
  • Pheochromocytoma (an adrenal gland tumor)  
  • Nervousness and anxiety  
  • Chronic stress 

Epinephrine is a natural stress response hormone that helps to provide the energy to deal with dangerous situations. So, it is important to maintain the proper balance of this hormone. You can do that by maintaining a good diet and a good lifestyle.  

Want to know more about epinephrine? At Doral Health and Wellness, we have doctors that can help you manage your condition. For more information, you can visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 11212, or call us on 1-347-384-5690. You can also visit our website at https://doralhw.org or contact us at info@doralhw.org if you have any queries. 

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