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Is Noradrenaline A Friend Or Foe Of The Kidneys
Jul 2017
Dr Ravi Andrews
Sr. Consultant Nephrologist, Apollo Health City

Adrenaline And Noradrenaline Hormones
The stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline are also called the fight-or-flight hormones and they prepare the body for action in the face of physical or emotional threat. Adrenaline is responsible for the rise in pulse rate, rapid breathing and a thumping heart. Noradrenaline prepares the body to undertake either of the choices of ‘fight or flight’ by ‘warming up’ the two preferred organs of the human body, namely the brain and the heart.

In the brain, noradrenaline increases alertness, promotes vigilance and focuses attention. In the heart, it increases blood pressure and pulse rate. In the rest of the body, it triggers the release of glucose from energy stores and increases blood flow to the muscles.

Understanding The ‘Fight-Or-Flight’ Response
Just imagine that you are walking down a deserted street at two o’clock at night in one of the most dangerous and lawless cities in the world. It’s a cold, chilly, starless winter night, the street lights are off and it is as dark as the mood of a perennially depressed pessimist. There is no one in sight and the moon is bashfully hidden behind a storm cloud. The only sound you can hear is the howling of a pack of stray dogs as they complain about their low lying position in the evolutionary food chain and of course your own timid footsteps.

You turn a corner and gasp out loud, because just five feet away, straddling the centre of the street, are half a dozen homeless youth. By the light of their cigarettes you can see multiple piercings, tattoos and a couple of machetes dangling from muscular arms and even a pistol or two. The deep drags they take on their cigarettes light up their vicious, scowling visages. Just when you think it couldn’t possibly get worse, it suddenly does!

You hear a shuffling noise behind you and spin around to see a couple of hefty individuals sidle out of a dark alley behind you. They are well over six feet tall and the sharp butcher’s knives look like toothpicks in their massive hands. Your body reacts automatically. Your pulse rate shoots up, your mouth turns dry, you start breathing fast and you can feel your heart thumping loud. Though seemingly physically paralysed, your mind is racing at full speed, deciding which will be a better option between the ‘fight-or-flight,’ response.