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Adrenals: Overactive or Underactive

Adrenals - Overactive

  • persistent high blood pressure for some time
  • rapid pulse
  • edema or fluid retention of the facial tissues
  • stronger than average physically
  • strong feelings, tend to "blow up" or dislike being crossed
  • FEMALE: excess hair on face, arms or legs, masculine aspects
  • MALE: baldness, excess hair on arms and back, muscular "square" build, aggressive in business or sports

Adrenals - Underactive

  • eyes sensitive to bright lights, headlights, sunlight
  • tightness or "lump" in throat, hurts when emotionally disturbed
  • voice rises to high pitch or is "lost" during stress, such as arguments, public appearances, etc.
  • easily shaken up or startled, heart pounds hard from unexpected noise
  • prefer being alone, uneasy when "center of attention"
  • blood pressure fluctuates, sometimes too low
  • blood pressure decreases when going from going from a lying down position to a standing position
  • known as a perfectionist, set high standards
  • avoid complaints, try to ignore discomforts or inconveniences
  • work off worries, things left undone cause unusual concern
  • allergies, such as skin rash, dermatitis, hay fever, severe sneezing attacks, asthma, etc.
  • emotional upsets cause complete exhaustion, must go and lie down when under heavy stress
  • inferiority complex
  • depression often relieved by eating
  • panic attacks
  • paranoia, phobias
  • guilt feelings
  • heart palpitations
  • pain or tightness in the upper neck and/or scalp
  • compulsive behavior
  • unusually ticklish
  • a head of fine thin hair
  • index finger longer than ring finger
  • asthma
  • suffer from recurrent infections, viruses
  • chronic heartburn
  • unusual craving for salt, sweets
  • intolerance to alcohol, cigarette smoke or exhaust fumes
  • perspire excessively
  • alternating constipation and diarrhea
  • blood sugar disturbances
  • clenching or grinding of teeth at night

The adrenal glands (suprarenal glands) curve over the top of each kidney in the abdomen. Although it appears to be one organ, it is actually two small glands, each weighing about 1/4 ounce (7 grams). The adrenal medulla (inner part or zona glomerulosa) is an agent of the sympathetic nervous system and is activated by nerve impulses. The adrenal cortex (the outer part, or zona fasciculata) is a true endocrine gland activated by adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) sent out from the pituitary gland.

The adrenal medulla secretes the catecholamines epinephrine and norepinepherine. These hormones help the body reduce stress. When the sympathetic nervous system reacts to intense emotions, such as fright or anger, large amounts of the hormone are released. This may cause a "fight or flight" reaction, in which blood pressure rises, the pupils widen, and blood is shunted to the most vital organs and to the skeletal muscles. The heart is also stimulated.

The adrenal cortex secretes two hormones: cortisol and aldosterone. These hormones are known collectively as corticosteroids. They help the body reduce stress and are essential for life. Cortisol is an energy generator. It regulates conversion of carbohydrates into glucose and directs reserves to the liver. It also suppresses inflammation. Aldosterone regulates the mineral and water balance of the body. It prevents excessive loss of water through the kidneys and maintains the balance between sodium and potassium in the blood stream. This balance is important to the contractility of muscles.

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