What is adrenaline?
Adrenaline is a hormone that helps you react quickly when faced with exciting, stressful, or dangerous situations. This is called the "fight or flight response." When this happens, your brain sends chemical messages to your adrenal glands (located above your kidneys) to begin releasing hormones into your bloodstream. You'll feel the effects of adrenaline within minutes.
When the stress passes, the glands stop producing adrenaline. You may still feel the effects of adrenaline, such as trembling, rapid heartbeat, or paleness, for about 20 minutes.
When you suddenly feel scared or stressed, adrenaline rushes into your body. This is often called an adrenaline rush because it happens so quickly.
Epinephrine may also be used as a medication in emergency situations, such as severe allergic reactions.
What does adrenaline do?
Adrenaline makes your heart beat faster and your lungs breathe more efficiently. It causes your blood vessels to carry more blood to your brain and muscles, increases your blood pressure, makes your brain more alert, and raises blood sugar levels to provide you with energy. Your pupils become enlarged and you sweat. You won't feel much pain, so even if you're injured, you can keep running or fighting if you need to. These temporary effects on your body can help you perform better in stressful situations.
When is epinephrine used as a medicine?
Epinephrine is a medicine used to treat severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) in emergency situations. It can also occur in cardiac arrest, croup and asthma.
You can take a dose of epinephrine using an auto-injector. If you have a medical condition that means you may need epinephrine urgently (such as a severe allergy), you can learn how to use an EpiPen or Anapen epinephrine auto-injector.
Epinephrine works by quickly reducing swelling in the throat, opening the airways, and preventing blood pressure from falling too low.
Adrenaline is injected into the large muscles of the thigh and can save your life. If you feel uncomfortable and have trouble breathing 5 minutes after your first epinephrine injection, give another dose of epinephrine from a new package.
If you received an epinephrine injection at home or anywhere other than a hospital, you must go to the hospital even if you feel better. Hospital doctors will monitor you for at least 4 hours.
What if I have asthma and allergies at the same time?
Asthma, food allergies and anaphylaxis often occur in the same person. Asthma increases your risk of allergic reactions, so if you have asthma and allergies, your doctor may also prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector for you to use if you need it. If you have asthma and suddenly have trouble breathing:
- Always use epinephrine auto-injector first
- Using asthma relief medications
- If you still have trouble breathing, call an ambulance.
Are there any adrenaline-related illnesses?
If your adrenal glands produce too much epinephrine or norepinephrine, it may cause high blood pressure from pheochromocytoma. This is a tumor that a medical provider can remove surgically. Just because you have high blood pressure, it doesn't mean you have a tumor. They are rare. Your healthcare provider can do blood tests and imaging to check for it.
What are the symptoms of pheochromocytoma?
Symptoms of pheochromocytoma include:
- Severe headache.
- Dizziness when standing up.
- Sweat a lot.
- Rapid pulse.
Will adrenaline harm my body?
The purpose of adrenaline is to help you react in dangerous situations. But sometimes it doesn't help your body. Nicotine causes your body to release adrenaline, which causes your heart to beat faster and your blood pressure to rise. High blood pressure is bad because it makes your heart work harder.
When anxiety leads to a panic attack, your body releases adrenaline because it thinks you're in danger. Each of these attacks puts your body under stress and makes your heart work harder.
What are the symptoms of an adrenaline rush?
When adrenaline is released into your bloodstream:
- Your heart beats faster.
- Your breathing quickens.
- Your digestion slows down so other muscles can use the blood normally used by your digestive organs.
- You feel very alert.
What activities cause an adrenaline rush?
Dangerous adventure activities and extreme sports cause an adrenaline rush.
- rock climbing.
- Zipper lining.
- BASE jumping.
You can also get an unexpected adrenaline rush by:
- Panic attacks.
- A traffic accident occurred.
- Terrible experience.
Is too much adrenaline a problem?
If you have too much adrenaline, it may cause the following symptoms:
- changes in your vision
- Feeling irritable and on edge
- Difficulty sleeping
Some rare diseases, such as adrenal tumors, can also cause too much adrenaline.
Over time, high levels of adrenaline can cause:
- lose weight
- Increased risk of heart disease Heart attack or stroke
Is there a problem with too little adrenaline?
It is very rare to have too little adrenaline. If you don't have enough adrenaline, it can prevent your body from responding appropriately to stressful situations.
How do I adjust my adrenaline levels?
Elevated adrenaline levels may be related to your body's response to stress. If this is the case, you may be able to manage your stress in healthy ways, such as:
- Meditate or practice other relaxation techniques
- sleep well
- diet healthy eating
- Reduce caffeine and alcohol
- Talk to a doctor or mental health professional
You have two adrenal glands. Each is located above one of the two kidneys. Your adrenal glands produce the hormone adrenaline and deliver it into your bloodstream.