General Practice 2022

Norepinephrine: what é and what is it for

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Norepinephrine: what é and what is it for
Norepinephrine: what é and what is it for

Norepinephrine, or norepinephrine, is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands that is released into the bloodstream to transmit nerve signals that help regulate important brain functions such as mood, concentration, attention, and memory.

This hormone, together with adrenaline, also makes it possible to respond to stressful situations, leaving the body on alert in the face of some danger, increasing heart rate, blood oxygenation, blood circulation to the muscles and the pupil dilation.

For all these actions in the body, noradrenaline can also be used in medicine as a medicine, applied directly into the vein, by doctors or nurses in the emergency room or ICU, in emergency situations such as a heart attack or deep hypotension.

What is it for

Norepinephrine has several functions in the body and is mainly involved in a process known as the “fight or flight response”, which is activated in situations of fear or stress. This answer is characterized by:

  • Dilation of the pupils so you can see better;
  • Increased heart rate to pump blood more efficiently;
  • Releasing blood glucose to provide energy for immediate use;
  • Increased blood flow to the muscles;
  • Increased respiration to provide more oxygen to the whole body.

All these functions allow the body to stay alert and prepared to face or escape the fear or stress situation.

Furthermore, in the brain, noradrenaline acts by increasing attention, memory, concentration and mood.

When is noradrenaline used as medicine?

Due to its functions in the body, noradrenaline can be used as a medicine, especially in situations where it is necessary to increase the contraction of blood vessels, leading to an increase in blood pressure. Therefore, norepinephrine is widely used in emergency situations that cause a decrease in blood pressure and that can be life-threatening, such as in cases of heart attack or profound hypotension, for example.

Furthermore, noradrenaline plays an important role in regulating attention and concentration. For this reason, most drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression or anxiety work by increasing levels of this hormone in the brain.

What is the difference between adrenaline and noradrenaline?

Both adrenaline and noradrenaline are produced by the adrenal glands, however, adrenaline is produced from noradrenaline. These hormones directly affect the heart, blood sugar levels, breathing and blood vessels.

In medicine, adrenaline is used to treat anaphylactic shock, cardiac arrest and severe asthma attacks. Norepinephrine is used to treat dangerously low blood pressure. In addition, drugs that increase norepinephrine can be used in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression and anxiety, whereas adrenaline does not act at this level.

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