A Fantastic Guide on Adrenaline- Everything you need to know!
You’ve likely heard of the term adrenaline before. It could be in the way of an adrenaline rush, the form of medication, or the body’s response to a scary incident. If you are not entirely sure what adrenaline is, and you would like to know more, then this post is for you. We’ll explain everything you need to know to give you a better understanding of the term.
So, what is adrenaline exactly?
Adrenaline is a hormone that is released from the adrenal glands that trigger your sympathetic nervous system to “fight or flight”. This natural response occurs when you are confronted with a threat or stressor. Your brain alerts you to danger and enables you to act quickly. Some examples of this could be skydiving or being chased by an aggressive dog. Adrenaline is a remarkable hormone and can be used in an emergency in the form of medication via EpiPens and Anapens. It is synthesised commercially to use in medical emergencies.
What does adrenaline do in the body?
Adrenaline has several effects on the body, it promptly actions your body by raising your heart rate, expanding your airways, dilating your pupils for better viewing, boosting blood flow to the major organs by contracting blood vessels in the limbs, increasing the sugar in your blood for more energy, decreases pain sensitivity, improves reaction time and so much more.
Adrenaline typically surges in the body in moments of danger however, those with medical conditions such as anxiety can experience it regularly which can negatively impact their health.
Often, when someone is experiencing an anaphylactic reaction or a cardiac arrest, medical personnel will administer adrenaline to the patient. It can be a life-saving drug.
Anaphylaxis and adrenaline, how does it work?
An anaphylactic reaction can be potentially fatal if the correct action is not taken quickly. Anaphylaxis is categorised as a severe allergic reaction, and it typically causes quick reactions within the body. Some common ones include breathing difficulties, heart complications, and swelling of the face, mouth, and eyes. These effects can come on immediately.
Adrenaline is given to someone who is having an anaphylactic attack. It helps by expanding the airways and enables the person to breathe, it stimulates the heart as well which can help to maintain heart function.
In a life-or-death situation like this, your body will naturally release adrenaline but, sometimes it’s not enough, and that’s where the external dose can help.
Cardiac arrest and adrenaline, how does it work?
A cardiac arrest is a serious and often fatal condition that occurs when the heart stops beating. For every second that passes without intervention, the poorer the outcome for the victim. The brain and vital organs are deprived of oxygen which can cause irreversible tissue damage. Adrenaline is typically given in a last-ditch attempt to treat someone who is suffering a cardiac arrest. It works by boosting blood flow and stimulating the heart, with the aim being to restore a heartbeat.
Signs and symptoms of an adrenaline surge?
In the moment, you might not even notice any symptoms, only afterwards you may feel the physical effects of adrenaline pumping through your body. Here are some symptoms:
- Rapid heart rate and the feeling of a pounding chest
- Trembling or shakiness
- A rush of energy
- Excessive perspiration
- Shallow breathing
- Dilated pupils
- More alert and aware of your surroundings.
What happens if your body has too much adrenaline?
Adrenaline is a crucial function of the human body however, if you are exposed to adrenaline consistently long-term it can make you more susceptible to health problems, including but not limited to:
- Sleep concerns
- High blood pressure
- Impaired memory and ability to focus
- Mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression.
- Heart palpitations
- Weight loss
- Excessive sweating
- High heart rate and blood pressure
What happens if your body doesn’t make enough adrenaline?
When your body fails to produce adrenaline, it can result in an Addisonian crisis. It can cause low blood sugar levels, low blood pressure and high potassium levels in the bloodstream. This condition can be life-threatening. If you have a medical condition that inhibits the production of cortisol, your GP will come up with a treatment plan and most likely prescribe you with medication to manage it.
Are there any side effects to being given adrenaline?
The life-saving benefits adrenaline provides most certainly outweigh any potential side effects you may experience from the drug. The good news is, the side effects, if any, are usually short-lived and tolerable. Some include:
- Raised heart rate
Learn more about adrenaline
We hope this post has given you a brief insight into adrenaline, what it is, and how it works. Knowing how to assist someone who needs assistance from an EpiPen or ApaPen can save their life. If you haven’t already, learning how to do first aid is a step in the right direction. It can help you recognise the signs of an anaphylactic reaction and can give you the confidence to act quickly.
Here at The First Aid Shop, we have an expansive selection of first aid kits, supplies and specialised equipment on offer. Check us out online or contact our experienced first aid professionals for more information. Being equipped with first aid training and proper supplies is the best way you can help someone in their time of need.