The adrenal gland: common disease states and suspected new applications
The adrenal gland, while small in size, provides a major punch to human metabolism. The interplay between the adrenal cortex hormones aldosterone and cortisol provides needed regulation to human metabolism. Aldosterone regulates the body sodium content affecting blood pressure thru fluid-volume regulation by the kidney. Cortisol, also from the adrenal cortex, contributes to regulation of glucose and protein metabolism. Diseases like addison's disease and Cushing's syndrome that affect the normal levels of these hormones can lead to serious pathologies that need to be detected thru clinical laboratory testing. The inner core of the adrenal gland, called the medulla, houses the catecholamine epinephrine, a fast acting neuropeptide hormone that can influence body action and energy levels quickly. The pheochromocytomas pathology of the adrenal medulla adversely affects the medulla hormones and needs to be recognized by clinical laboratory testing. The overview of the adrenal gland and its potential pathologies needs to be looked at anew in relation to post-traumatic stress disorder to find any linkage that may aid in the treatment and cure of our affected military soldiers. This interrelationship between cortisol and epinephrine in PTSD should be closely evaluated to determine if the suspected linkages are significant.
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